Utah ranked world’s best mining jurisdiction as WA slips

The US state of Utah has taken pole position in the Fraser Institute’s Annual Survey of Mining Companies for 2023, while high-achiever Western Australia has continued its slide down the rankings.

The survey assesses the impact of mineral endowments and policy factors on attitudes toward exploration investment. A total of 293 respondents participated in last year’s survey, providing sufficient data to evaluate 86 jurisdictions. 

Utah’s position as the world’s most attractive region for mining investment reflects a 16-point jump from 17th in 2022. 

Nevada was ranked second, while Saskatchewan took third. Rounding out the top 10 are Western Australia, Québec, Manitoba, Arizona, the Northern Territory, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario. 

Meanwhile, Niger was ranked the least attractive jurisdiction in the world for investment, followed by China.

Notably, Utah was the only region to score a perfect 100 for its policy perception, up from 95.83 in 2022 and 91.46 in 2021. However, some survey respondents expressed concern about the state’s regulatory duplication, the quality of its geological database, and uncertainty regarding environmental regulations.

No states in Australia were ranked in the top 16 jurisdictions regarding policy perceptions. Western Australia came in 17th — down from 10th in 2022 — as miners cited concerns about the state’s infrastructure, its political instability, and disputed land claims. 

Despite this, Western Australia continues to be ranked the highest state for overall investment attractiveness in Australia. 

Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) CEO Warren Pearce says the survey was conducted in August last year, at the height of a public debate over recently introduced Aboriginal cultural heritage laws. 

“The impact that has had on Western Australia’s policy perception index is quite clear. To drop from fourth a couple of years ago to 17th is a concern,” he says. 

“Ultimately, Premier Roger Cook heeded the call of industry and community, and repealed those laws. However, it underscores the lasting negative impact that such policies can have on investment attraction.”

Overall, Australia has slipped from the top country for investment attractiveness to second place, behind the US.

Pearce says it will be interesting to see if positive regulatory changes are made, including implementing the Vogel-McFerran environment regulatory reforms, which he adds could have a positive effect on the state in next year’s survey. 

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au   

Images: Visit the USA
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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.