The Fraser Institute has listed Finland, Sweden and Canadian provinces Alberta and New Brunswick as the world’s top locations for mining investment. The annual global survey of mining executives ranked Finland second overall in the 2012 poll, however the Nordic nation has usurped New Brunswick this year to top the list of 96 mining locations.

Sweden climbed to second overall from seventh, while Norway vaulted to 10th from 24th, highlighting the international mining community’s growing interest in Nordic countries.

“This is the fourth consecutive year that Finland and Sweden have ranked among the global top 10 for mining investment. The confidence miners have shown in Finland and Sweden proves that it’s possible to enact sound environmental protections and still maintain a successful mining industry,” says the Fraser Institute’s survey director Kenneth Green.

The Canadian provinces Alberta and New Brunswick placed third and fourth overall. Alberta ranked No 1 worldwide in 2011 while New Brunswick climbed to first place last year from 23rd overall.

“Alberta and New Brunswick offer competitive taxation regimes, sound legal systems, and relatively low uncertainty around land claims. That’s what miners are looking for,” Kenneth Green says.

Wyoming was the top-ranked US state at fifth overall, down from fourth last year, followed by Nevada in seventh, up from eighth. The rest of the top 10 are: Ireland (sixth), Canada’s Yukon Territory (eighth), Utah (ninth) and Norway (10th).

Chile, which was once the only jurisdiction outside North America to consistently rank among the top 10, continues its precipitous decline in the global rankings, falling to 23rd this year from 18th in 2012 and eighth in 2011.

Victoria was the only Australian jurisdiction to improve its international standing, vaulting to 24th from 44th in 2012. Western Australia fell from 15 to 12, South Australia from 19 to 20, Northern Territory from 11 to 22, Queensland from 28 to 32, New South Wales from 32 to 44 and Tasmania from 30 to 49.

Indonesia, Vietnam, Venezuela, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kyrgyzstan, Zimbabwe, Bolivia, Guatemala, Philippines and Greece rank as the world’s worst mining jurisdictions.

The Fraser Institute’s annual survey is based on the opinions of mining executives representing 742 mineral exploration and development companies on the investment climate of 96 jurisdictions around the world.

Kenneth Green says the report also notes that miners are pessimistic about short-term commodity prices, with only gold expected to increase in value significantly. “Their investment intentions reflect a cautious outlook with 46% of respondents planning to increase their exploration budgets in 2013, compared to 68% in 2012.”

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