25/02/2021 - 12:00

WA slips in global mining ranking

25/02/2021 - 12:00

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Uncertainty over land claims and protected areas have contributed to Western Australia losing its title as the world’s most attractive jurisdiction for mining investment, a recent survey showed.

WA slips in global mining ranking
WA has fallen from first to fourth most attractive jurisdiction for mining investment. Photo: Minerals Council of Australia

Uncertainty over land claims and protected areas have contributed to Western Australia losing its title as the world’s most attractive jurisdiction for mining investment, a recent survey showed.

The 2020 Fraser Institute survey of mining companies revealed WA has slipped from first to fourth most attractive jurisdiction, with the list now led by US states Nevada and Arizona in first and second place, respectively, followed by Canadian province Saskatchewan in third.

The annual survey tallies ranked scores related to a region’s geological attractiveness along with policy-related factors including regulations, taxation levels, and the quality of infrastructure.

WA, which was ranked most attractive jurisdiction for investment in 2019, had performed poorly in categories related to disputed land claims and protected areas, ranking 37th and 40th (respectively) out of the 77 jurisdictions evaluated in 2020.

The state, however, ranked well in the regulations, legal, and geological categories, with one survey respondent saying WA has an excellent process for settling disputes.

WA’s best performance was in the administration, interpretation and enforcement of existing regulations category, with the state placing second behind Argentinian province Salta.

South Australia was also included in the top 10, falling one spot to seventh place.

Alaska was ranked fifth, Quebec sixth, Newfoundland & Labrador eighth, Idaho ninth and Finland 10th.

Meanwhile, all Australian states slipped in the survey’s ranking except for NSW, placed at 27.

Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Tania Constable said the result has sounded the alarm for policy reforms and greater investment from the state government.

“Urgent reforms are needed to deliver internationally competitive tax and royalty rates, faster project approvals and less regulatory duplication to attract more job-creating investment in Australia’s world-leading mining industry,” she said.

“Australia cannot take mining’s contribution to jobs, investment and communities in the future for granted.”

Ms Constable said the minerals industry made substantial contributions to investment, exports, wages, jobs, and government revenue in 2020 despite it being a challenging year in the wake of COVID-19.

The Australian resources sector directly employs 240,000 people while creating 1.1 million direct and indirect jobs in the mining and mining equipment, technology, and services sectors.

Ms Constable said policy reform and greater investment would ensure the industry continued to contribute to the Australian economy.

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