Australia is the world’s most attractive country for mining investment, according to an annual global survey of mining executives released by independent, non-partisan Canadian policy think-tank, the Fraser Institute.

In terms of mining regions, Western Australia was in the top spot after dropping to fourth in 2014 while Northern Territory was seventh and South Australia was 10th.

“Despite a global downturn of commodity prices, governments worldwide can offer competitive, transparent, and stable mining policies to encourage exploration and investment,” said Fraser Institute senior director of energy and natural resources Kenneth Green.

The annual survey rates 109 jurisdictions around the world based on geologic attractiveness and the extent government policies encourage or deter exploration and investment. The institute surveyed around 4000 mining companies to gauge their views.

In addition to being blessed with an abundance of mineral potential, miners give Western Australia’s government credit for having transparent mining policies, a strong legal system, clear regulations and skilled labour force.

Canada and the United States also fare prominently in this year’s survey. Saskatchewan is the top-ranked Canadian province at second overall while Nevada is the top US state placing third. Five out of the top 10 worldwide jurisdictions are in North America with Alaska at six, Quebec at eight and Utah at nine. Two European jurisdictions complete the top 10 list - Ireland at four and Finland at five.

Of the Asian countries Kazakhstan is highest at 20, up from 88 in 2014; Papua New Guinea at 43; New Zealand at 44; Indonesia at 49, up from 81 in 2014; China was up from 94 to 64; Philippines at 72; India at 73; Malaysia at 76; Laos at 77; Vietnam at 78; Mongolia at 85; Myanmar at 87; New Caledonia at 88; Kyrgyz Republic at 91; and Solomon Islands at 105.

The bottom 10 regions are 109 La Rioja, 108 Venezuela, 107 Honduras, 106 Greece, 105 Solomon Islands, 104 Chubut, 103 Guinea (Conakry), 102 Kenya, 101 Mendoza and 100 Rio Negro.

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