The Fraser Institute's annual ranking of mining-friendly jurisdictions placed Ontario 20th among 77 provinces, states and countries.
The Canadian public policy think-tank released the results of its annual survey of mining and exploration companies for 2020. The report is an attempt to assess how mineral endowments and public policy factors such as taxation and regulations affect exploration investment.
They received 276 responses to evaluate 77 jurisdictions around the world known for their geological attractiveness and mineral investment.
Nevada was deemed the top mining jurisdiction in the world by way of investment attractiveness, up from third place in 2009. Second is Arizona, up from ninth in 2019.
Saskatchewan ranked third, climbing eight spots from 11th in 2019. Rounding out the top 10 are Western Australia, Alaska, Quebec, South Australia, Newfoundland & Labrador, Idaho and Finland.
In the global survey rankings, Canada is considered the second most attractive region in the world for investment after Australia.
Saskatchewan, Quebec and Newfoundland & Labrador ranked in the top 10 in terms of investment attractiveness. In last year's Fraser survey, no Canadian jurisdiction featured in the top 10.
The Fraser Institute further breaks down the scorecard into a Policy Perception Index (PPI), taking into account things like a certain jurisdiction's environmental regulations, regulatory duplication, legal system and taxation regime, and other such things. The PPI is called a 'report card' to governments on the attractiveness of their mining policies.
Ontario's ranking in the PPI score slipped from 24th in 2019 to 31st in 2020.
Respondents had concerns with environmental regulations, socioeconomic agreements and community development conditions, and uncertainty regarding the administration, interpretation or enforcement of existing regulations.
The Fraser report included two comments on the regulatory regime in Ontario.
"The lack of coordination and communication between government departments makes the permitting process unnecessarily extensive," replied one mining company president.
On the province's support for the industry, the president of an exploration firm noted: "Relief granted for assessment reporting due to COVID-19 helped the sector remain competitive."
In the report, the bottom dwellers for the least attractive mining jurisdictions in the world placed Venezuela in the basement followed by Indonesia, Argentina: La Rioja, Bolivia, Argentina: Mendoza, Zimbabwe, Spain, and Michigan.