An annual Canadian-based global survey of mining companies
ranks New Zealand as 26th in its ''policy attractiveness''
for investment, out of 96 regions and countries around the
While the Fraser Institute report noted total global
exploration spending increased during 2012-13, only 46% of
survey respondents planned to increase their exploration
budgets this calendar year.
Exploration spending during 2012 was $US6.2 billion ($NZ7.3
billion), up from $US5.4 billion the year before, but it
appears likely to take a major hit this calendar year.
The Fraser survey findings align with separate financial
statements from the small junior explorers in New Zealand and
Australia through to the largest multibillion-dollar
companies, which are all making sweeping cuts in the face of
declining commodity prices and increasing production costs.
As if to underpin the survey results, mining giant Rio Tinto
delivered its third-quarter results earlier this month.
It said it was on track to exceed its targeted $US750 million
reduction in spending on exploration and evaluation spending
during 2013, having achieved $US729 million in lower
exploration and evaluation spending for the nine months to
September, compared to the same period during 2012.
The Fraser report said ''Over 90% of respondents `somewhat or
fully agreed' that it was currently more difficult to raise
''A majority believes that the reason for this difficulty was
investors being worried about the state of the world economy,
or being risk averse and seeing mining as risky''.
While the majority expected gold prices to increase in value
by 20% over the next two years, more than 50% of respondents
expected only small increases, less than 10%, in the value of
diamonds, silver, coal, copper, nickel, zinc, potash and
New Zealand has steadily improved in both its index score for
investment attractiveness and ranking during the last five
years. In 2012-13, its ranking rose slightly to 26th from
27th. Survey ratings improved most significantly for
political stability, the legal system and for the quality of
New Zealand's geological database.
On sole ranking based on ''political stability'', New Zealand
ranked seventh of the 96 jurisdictions, which were led by New
Brunswick, then Saskatchewan, Finland, Botswana, Greenland,
the Northern Territory, New Zealand, Victoria, Yukon and
Each region had a sprinkling of anonymous industry comments.
A vice-president of a New Zealand producer company, of more
than $US50 million revenue, said: ''Risk-based approach to
permitting. Easy and local councils have all the regulatory
power without having to jump through hoops with different
The Fraser Institute is a Canadian-based think-tank, and
received survey responses from 742 companies during the three
months to January.
The top 10 mining jurisdictions are Finland, Sweden, Alberta,
New Brunswick and Wyoming, Ireland, Nevada , the Yukon, and
new entrants, Utah and Norway; the latter displacing Quebec
The 10 least attractive jurisdictions for investment, with
Indonesia at the bottom, preceded by Vietnam, Venezuela, the
Democratic Republic of Congo, Kyrgyzstan, Zimbabwe, Bolivia,
Guatemala the Philippines and Greece.
The ranking for Australia was declined, but it was in an
improving trend during the past five years. Western Australia
was ranked the highest of the Australian jurisdictions,
Victoria improved and Tasmania declined.