Zimbabwe ranks as the least attractive mining jurisdiction in the world for investment thanks to a poor score both in policy and mineral potential in the Investment Attractiveness Index, The Fraser Institute’s Annual Survey of Mining Companies for 2021 has shown.
Also at the bottom of the ranking are Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Africa and Mali. DRC and Mali are particularly interesting given the vast mineral resources the countries have.
“While geologic and economic considerations are important factors in mineral exploration, a region’s policy climate is also an important investment consideration,” reads the report in part.
The Policy Perception Index (PPI), is a composite index that measures the overall policy attractiveness of the 84 jurisdictions in the survey. The index is composed of survey responses to policy factors that affect investment decisions.
Policy factors examined include uncertainty concerning the administration of current regulations, environmental regulations, regulatory duplication, the legal system and taxation regime, uncertainty concerning protected areas and disputed land claims, infrastructure, socioeconomic and community development conditions, trade barriers, political stability, labor regulations, quality of the geological database, security, and labor and skills availability.
An overall Investment Attractiveness Index is constructed by combining the Best Practices Mineral Potential index, which rates regions based on their geologic attractiveness, and the Policy Perception Index, a composite index that measures the effects of government policy on attitudes toward exploration investment.
While it is useful to measure the attractiveness of a jurisdiction based on policy factors such as onerous regulations, taxation levels, the quality of infrastructure, and the other policy related questions that respondents answered, the Policy Perception Index alone does not recognize the fact that investment decisions are often sizably based on the pure mineral potential of a jurisdiction. Indeed, as discussed below, respondents consistently indicate that approximately 40 percent of their investment decision is determined by policy factors.
Western Australia is the most attractive destination for mining investors. The country ranked 4th place in 2020. Saskatchewan continues to be on the podium, going from a rank of 3rd in 2020 to 2nd this year. Nevada, which topped the ranking last year, ranked 3rd in 2021. Rounding out the top 10 are Alaska, Arizona, Quebec, Idaho, Morocco, Yukon, and South Australia.
The United States has the most jurisdictions (4) in this year’s top 10, followed by Canada (3), Australia (2), and Africa (1).