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Quebec climbs to 6th spot in Fraser Institute's mining survey Peter Hadekel PETER HADEKEL, SPECIAL TO MONTREAL GAZETTE More from Peter Hadekel, Special to Montreal Gazette Published on: February 24, 2015Last Updated: February 24, 2015 6:31 AM EST A newly constructed bridge spans the Eastmain river in northern Quebec on Thursday October 03, 2013. The bridge leads to Stornaway Diamond's Renard mine and Camp Lagopede. They are located about 800 kms north of Montreal, on the shore of lake Kaakus Kaanipaahaapisk. Pierre Obendrauf / The Gazette SHARE ADJUST COMMENT PRINT After tumbling in the rankings in recent years, Quebec has re-established itself as one of the world’s most attractive mining jurisdictions, according to the Fraser Institute’s annual survey of the mining industry made public Tuesday. The province jumped to sixth spot in the 2014 rankings for investment attractiveness after finishing 18th the year before. The survey rated 122 jurisdictions around the world “based on their geological attractiveness and the extent to which government policies encourage exploration and investment.” Quebec sat on top of the international rankings from 2007 to 2010 but then dropped as industry perceptions of the province turned negative. Increased red tape, royalty hikes and uncertainty surrounding new environmental regulations all took their toll. But a change of government in Quebec seems to have helped turn those perceptions around. “The confidence mining executives now have in Quebec is due in part to the province’s proactive approach to mining policy and its Plan Nord strategy to encourage investment and mineral exploration in northern Quebec,” said Kenneth Green, the Fraser Institute’s senior director of energy and natural resources. The Liberal government under Philippe Couillard breathed new life into the Plan Nord after taking over from the previous Parti Québécois administration, which had been noticeably cool to the plan first proposed by former Liberal premier Jean Charest. While uncertainty surrounding mineral prices has held back new investment in Quebec, the Liberals have pledged to push the Plan Nord strategy by improving transportation infrastructure and making direct investments where needed. Reflecting the improved mood, an index measuring policy perception places Quebec 12th in the world, up from 21st in 2013. However, Quebec got a black eye in the mining community over its handling of the Strateco Resources Inc. uranium mine, which has been repeatedly delayed. A moratorium was imposed on all uranium exploration permits, which the industry saw as an arbitrary and unnecessary action that devastated junior explorers. As well, the Fraser Institute’s Green noted that in Ontario and British Columbia uncertainty surrounding First Nations consultations and disputed land claims should serve as “a stark lesson for Quebec. Above all, mining investment is attracted when a jurisdiction can provide a clear and transparent regulatory environment.” Finland finished first overall in this year’s survey of 485 mining executives from around the world. Exploration budgets reported by companies participating in the survey totalled US$2.7 billion, down from US$3.2 billion in 2013. Despite its strong performance, Quebec was edged out by two other Canadian provinces: Saskatchewan finished second and Manitoba fourth. A strong Canadian showing included eighth spot for Newfoundland and Labrador and ninth for Yukon. The mining industry has been hampered by a lack of financing for exploration as well as continued uncertainty over future demand and prices. The report found an overall deterioration in the investment climate around the world. There is “a stark difference between geographical regions; notably the divide between Canada, the United States and Australia and the rest of the world.” [email protected] sent via Tapatalk