The survey rates 122 jurisdictions around the world based on their geologic attractiveness and the extent to which government policies encourage exploration and investment.
In Canada, Manitoba was second, Quebec third and Newfoundland and Labrador rated fourth, following by Yukon and the Northwest Territories.
Two of Canada’s other geographically large jurisdictions — Ontario and British Columbia — didn’t fare as well.
Internationally, Ontario placed 23rd and B.C. ranked 28th.
“In addition to being blessed with an abundance of mineral potential, Saskatchewan gets credit for having a government with a transparent and productive approach to mining policy,” said Kenneth Green, Fraser Institute senior director of energy and natural resources and director of the Survey of Mining Companies.
“The province offers a competitive taxation regime, good scientific support, efficient permitting procedures and clarity around land claims. That’s what miners look for.”
Green said there’s a reason Ontario dropped nine places in the rankings compared to the previous year.
“In Ontario, the New Mining Act amendments regarding First Nations consultation have resulted in complete incomprehensibility of rights on all sides,” Green said.
“Similarly in British Columbia, uncertainty concerning disputed land claims and ambiguity about what regions will be protected are deterrents to investment and exploration.”
The survey was conducted between Aug. 26 and Nov. 15, 2014, and included the responses of 485 mineral exploration and development company executives from around the world.