The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) said Australia’s high standing in the Fraser Institute’s Survey of Mining Companies 2015 was heavily aided by its geological mineral potential measured on the survey’s Best Practices Mineral Potential Index. “Australia’s Policy Perception Index Score however remained relatively unchanged from previous years,” said AMEC CEO Simon Bennison.

“Western Australia ranked number one globally for Investment Attractiveness and both Northern Territory and South Australia ranked in the top 10. Victoria was the lowest ranked Australian jurisdiction on the Investment Attractiveness Index at 62/109.

“Caution needs to be taken when considering the Investment Attractiveness Index as it is a composite index that combines both the Policy Perception Index and results from the Best Practices Mineral Potential Index.

“Most Australian jurisdictions ranked lower on the Policy Perception Index indicating that their mineral potential – which receives a higher weighting in the calculation – increases their overall investment attractiveness. This is important to consider as there is still much more to be done to reduce the regulatory burden, duplications and processing delays.

“New South Wales was the lowest ranked Australian jurisdiction on the Policy Perception Index at 51 behind Victoria at 43.

“Comments from survey participants highlighted the need for improvements in some Australian jurisdictions, especially in New South Wales with regards to approval timeframes and in Queensland with regards to land access and workplace relations.

“Whilst Australia as a whole is on top of the world for investment attractiveness, more can be done at the Federal, State and Territory levels to increase mineral exploration and reduce the operating cost environment.

“Making the overall development approvals process through the many government departments more efficient and effective would go a long way to improving both of these objectives.

“The recent announcement by the Queensland Government that eligible mineral explorers will now be able to reduce their exploration permit expenditure requirements by up to 50% over the next two years is positive news. AMEC is seeking similar flexibility and concessions in other jurisdictions.

“AMEC has been working with the Western Australian Government to reduce red tape and made more than 30 recommendations in its submission to the Minister for Finance. These are still under consideration by the Government.

“Continuation of the various state and territory co-funded drilling programs is another positive initiative and should be fully supported, as is pre-competitive geoscience data. These will promote more exploration.

“The first round of the Federal Government’s Exploration Development Incentive (EDI) saw 84 Australian companies receiving a share of $21 million to distribute to their shareholders in the form of a direct tax offset.

“The EDI has two more years to run and will further increase greenfield exploration which is essential to make new discoveries that will become the mines of tomorrow to provide jobs and Government revenue streams for the future,” said Simon Bennison.

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