Friday 19th January 2018

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘new brunswick’

Deep-penetrating geophysics to probe Belmont Resources’ Nevada lithium project

January 17th, 2018

by Greg Klein | January 17, 2018

Now being mobilized, an electromagnetic survey will help target brine aquifers on Belmont Resources’ (TSXV:BEA) Kibby Basin property. The company describes Quantec Geoscience’s Spartan AMT/MT method as “a full tensor magnetotelluric technology that acquires resistivity data in the 10 kHz to 0.001 Hz frequency band. The result is a measurement that is applicable from near-surface to potential depths of three kilometres or more.” Belmont credits Quantec with over 5,000 geophysical programs in over 50 countries.

Deep-penetrating geophysics to probe Belmont Resources’ Nevada lithium project

Two holes sunk on Kibby Basin last year brought
core samples between 70 ppm and 200 ppm lithium.

The Kibby Basin survey should take nine days, with another two weeks for an initial report.

The program follows a satellite data review and two-hole 2017 drill campaign on the 2,760-hectare Nevada property 65 kilometres north of Clayton Valley. Thirteen of 25 core samples surpassed 100 ppm lithium, “indicating that the sediments could be a potential source of lithium for the underlying aquifers,” the company stated.

A gravity survey the previous year suggested the property hosts a closed basin which the company later estimated to cover four square kilometres, extending to at least 1.5 kilometres in depth.

Last week Belmont announced its lawyers would request the annulment of a decision by the International Centre For Settlement Of Investment Disputes reported in August. The tribunal stated it had no jurisdiction in a dispute involving Belmont, EuroGas Inc and the Slovak Republic regarding Rozmin SRO’s ownership of the Gemerska Poloma talc deposit. Belmont seeks to be restored as a claimant in the arbitration proceedings.

The company also holds the Mid Corner-Johnson Croft property in New Brunswick, a prospect with some historic, non-43-101 zinc-copper-cobalt sampling results that has yet to undergo modern geophysics.

In northern Saskatchewan, Belmont and International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT share a 50/50 stake in the Crackingstone and Orbit Lake uranium properties.

Belmont closed an oversubscribed private placement of $312,200 in December.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Belmont Resources CFO/director Gary Musil.

Satellite imagery helps Belmont Resources home in on Nevada lithium targets

December 14th, 2017

by Greg Klein | December 14, 2017

Thanks to NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey, archived satellite data sharpens the focus on Belmont Resources’ (TSXV:BEA) Kibby Basin lithium project in Nevada. The company now has geophysics and other work planned for a busy new year.

Satellite imagery helps Belmont Resources home in on Nevada lithium targets

The satellite info shows hydrothermal indicator minerals over about one square kilometre of the 2,760-hectare property, CEO/president Vojtech Agyagos stated. “This area hosted the highest lithium surface samples as well and is the site of our proposed third drill hole. Our 2017 drill program discovered both water (fresh) and up to 200 ppm lithium in the core in the eastern side of the property about two kilometres from these thermal alterations.”

Drill results released last June showed clay-rich core samples grading between 70 ppm and 200 ppm lithium, “with 13 of 25 core samples assaying over 100 ppm lithium, indicating that the sediments could be a potential source of lithium for the underlying aquifers,” Belmont announced at the time.

Agyagos added that the satellite-revealed geothermal alteration “sits above the deepest gravity-indicated area from Belmont’s 2016 Wright geophysical ground gravity survey.”

Results from that survey suggest a basin model about 4,000 metres deep with similarities to Clayton Valley, host to Albemarle Corp’s (NYSE:ALB) Silver Peak lithium mine.

Belmont’s next plans call for a number of surveys including magnetotelluric, vertical electrical sounding, geothermal probe, electromagnetic resistivity and possibly seismic to help identify lithium brine drill targets. The company expects to finish EM work in early January.

Along with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT, Belmont holds a 50/50 stake in two northern Saskatchewan uranium properties, Crackingstone and Orbit Lake, for which the companies seek JV partners.

In New Brunswick last month, Belmont acquired the Mid Corner-Johnson Croft zinc-copper property, which shows promising historic sampling results but has yet to undergo modern geophysics.

Last week the company closed an oversubscribed private placement of $312,200.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Belmont Resources CFO/director Gary Musil.

Belmont Resources adds New Brunswick zinc-copper to Nevada lithium

November 23rd, 2017

by Greg Klein | November 23, 2017

Today’s geophysics can “see” what older technology missed, opening up new opportunities in exploration. That’s partly what attracted Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA to its new acquisition, the Mid Corner-Johnson Croft zinc-copper prospect in New Brunswick. While powerlines interfered with 1960s-era geophysics, the company expects accurate results from modern ground electromagnetic and/or gravity surveys.

Belmont Resources adds New Brunswick zinc-copper to Nevada lithium

A single sample of breccia taken in 1970 brought historic, non-43-101 assays of 0.96% cobalt and 16.04% zinc, along with silver, cadmium, copper and lead. A few 1990s samples included non-43-101 results of 1.66% zinc, 2% zinc and 1.04% zinc, with some gold, silver, copper, lead and cadmium.

The 700-hectare property has paved road access as well as the transmission line.

Belmont plans to review all historic data prior to field work that would begin next year. Meanwhile the company remains focused on its Kibby Basin lithium project in Nevada, 65 kilometres north of Clayton Valley. Belmont plans EM, vertical electrical sounding and/or geothermal probe surveys to identify targets for the flagship’s next phase of drilling.

The New Brunswick acquisition costs Belmont two million shares and $10,000 over one year. The company may buy back a 1% NSR out of an existing 2.5% NSR.

Belmont also announced its intention to apply for a TSXV price waiver for a proposed private placement of up to $300,000.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Belmont Resources CFO/director Gary Musil.

Mining supporters and critics speak out as government ministers meet in New Brunswick

August 14th, 2017

by Greg Klein | August 14, 2017

This is the week that the country’s mining ministers convene with their counterparts from all Canadian jurisdictions. Taking place this year in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, the Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference will “discuss shared priorities for collaborative action to advance energy and mining development across the country.” Participants will also hear from the industry and its critics, with the latter highlighting NB’s proposed Sisson tungsten-molybdenum open pit mine.

The Canadian Mineral Industry Federation proposed reforms in six key areas that would expand the industry’s “vast socio-economic contributions to Canadians.” Not surprisingly, regulatory streamlining topped the list. The group called for an “effective, timely and co-ordinated regulatory process, from pre-environmental assessment to post-EA permitting.”

Mining supporters and critics make voices heard as government ministers meet in New Brunswick

Workers at the Sisson project, one of the world’s largest
undeveloped tungsten deposits and now site of a protest camp.

Proportionately Canada’s largest private sector employer of natives, the industry called on governments to enhance indigenous participation through “investments in health, education and skills training, and by implementing government resource revenue-sharing mechanisms.”

Looking at climate change, the CMIF warned that poorly crafted regulations could push mining “to competitor countries with less stringent climate change policies.” The group also called on governments to acknowledge the challenges of working in remote regions dependent on diesel fuel.

On a related topic, the CMIF encouraged governments to provide isolated regions with better infrastructure to “benefit both industry and local and indigenous communities.”

Concern about a shrinking land base prompted the CMIF to recommend that “mineral potential is factored into all land withdrawal decision-making processes.”

The group also called for government and industry to collaborate on a Clean Resources Innovation Supercluster, which would concentrate industry, R&D and associated small and medium-sized enterprises in one area to attract investment and develop synergies.

A coalition of native and advocacy groups, however, challenged the conference to make good on this year’s theme of Clean Growth.

“We’re not against ‘clean growth’ or ‘clean energy’ but these must not be empty words,” said Jacinda Mack, co-ordinator of First Nations Women Advocating for Responsible Mining and a community member affected by British Columbia’s 2014 Mount Polley tailings dam collapse. “We’re here to alert the public and our governments that there are still serious problems with the way mining is done in this country, and that there can’t be any clean growth or clean energy without first having clean mining.”

The coalition also emphasized its opposition to the proposed Sisson open pit mine, about 330 kilometres by road from the conference location. A partnership of Northcliff Resources TSX:NCF and a subsidiary of family-owned Todd Corp, the plan received federal environmental approval in June. Proponents describe Sisson as one of the world’s largest undeveloped tungsten deposits, with an estimated 27-year lifespan.

But a newly released report charges that the project’s “mining waste facility design is business-as-usual, using the same facility design and water cover approach used at the failed Mount Polley mine.”

Members of the Maliseet First Nations have occupied a protest camp at Sisson since early July. In February, chiefs of the six Maliseet nations signed a multi-million-dollar revenue-sharing deal with the province, CBC reported. But five of the chiefs later “denounced” the agreement, the network stated.

The coalition estimates liability for contaminated mine sites across Canada to surpass $10 billion, a figure that “can easily triple or quadruple once the true costs for site cleanup and risks from spills and failures are considered.”

Two newly elected governments join the conference this year. In November the Yukon Liberals returned to power after a 14-year hiatus. Last month B.C.’s NDP was sworn in as the province’s new government after gaining support from the three-MLA Green Party to vote down the minority BC Liberals’ Throne Speech.

How green are their ridings?

July 13th, 2017

A vehicle-deprived vagabond travels through Canada’s Green Party stronghold

by Greg Klein

A vehicle-deprived vagabond travels through Canada’s Green Party stronghold

A Cowichan Valley boat ramp parking lot shows the region’s preferred
mode of transport. Those tow hitches aren’t for canoes or kayaks, either.

 

The traffic’s fast and furious. That’s alarmingly apparent as you risk crossing the road to any of the locally famous caffeineries after perusing the locally produced arts, crafts and food tempting visitors at Salt Spring Saturday Market. This is Ganges, a charming town in Saanich North and the Islands, one of three ridings that awarded the balance of power to the Greens in last May’s British Columbia election. But it’s unmistakeably car country.

Green MLAs will hold considerable influence in B.C.’s legislature as long as they can prop up the New Democratic Party minority government. Part of Canada’s Green power base, Saanich North and the Islands nearly coincides with the federal constituency of Green MP Elizabeth May and forms part of a trio of nearby provincial ridings that elected one incumbent and two new Green MLAs.

By comparison the rest of Canada has just two Green MLAs (one each in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island) and zero MPs.

A vehicle-deprived vagabond travels through Canada’s Green Party stronghold

B.C. Green leader Andrew Weaver represents
a beautiful but largely car-dependent suburb.

A nice spring afternoon in this Salt Spring Island town notwithstanding, Ganges hosts many more people behind the wheel than on foot. And they seem to be in one hell of a hurry. In their defence, some residents say Salt Spring has Canada’s highest proportion of EV ownership.

Speaking to CBC, one island dweller divulged unofficial data showing “111 electric cars [out of 10,640 people, over half of them old enough to drive], when statistically in Canada we should only have five.” Maybe, but the noise of this little town’s hustle and bustle suggests overwhelming loyalty to fossil fuels.

Like the other islands in Green MLA Adam Olsen’s constituency, Salt Spring’s linked to the outside world mostly by B.C. Ferries. To the frustration of foot passengers, the provincially owned company typically locates its terminals in out-of-the-way spots to provide plenty of parking space. One of the riding’s biggest employers, B.C. Ferries normally makes vehicle ownership a job requirement for employees at its terminals.

To the further frustration of the car-less, B.C. Ferries schedules sync poorly with those of B.C. Transit, the provincial purveyor of municipal and regional bus service. It offers very occasional service on Salt Spring and none on the riding’s other islands.

 

Stroll along Oak Bay Avenue or any other Oak Bay-Gordon Head main drag and you’ll probably notice drivers exercising an un-Salt Spring km/h restraint. Nevertheless cars far outnumber pedestrians in this suburban Victoria riding bordering Saanich North. That’s despite this being a highly walkable neighbourhood with lots of convenient shops and services. There’s even, by Canadian standards, reasonably good bus service. This very affluent turf constitutes the domain of B.C. Green leader Andrew Weaver. Once again, vehicle-dependency seems to be taken for granted.

Like some of his party’s Salt Spring supporters, Weaver is said to tool around in an electric car. Maybe, like most politicians, he also takes token transit trips for political bragging rights. Of course the pyramid of CO2-reducing moral superiority builds from a car-dependent base to greater heights by ditching fossil-fuel engines for EVs, ditching EVs for transit, and ditching transit for walking or cycling. But the very apex of GHG-avoidance, according to one recent study, would be ditching parenthood. It turns out that babies—little scoundrels that they are—put other Big Oil lackeys to shame with their GHG profligacy.

That would seem to take the low-birthrate Western world off the hook, placing almost the entire climate-change blame on emerging societies. But the B.C. Greens’ push for free childcare and payments to stay-at-home parents seems irresponsibly averse to the big issue of our time.

 

Two bucks gets you a B.C. Transit ride all the way from the small Vancouver Island city of Duncan to Lake Cowichan. This weekend wayfarer took the trip on Canada Day, as one of only two passengers throughout the 29-kilometre, 45-minute trip traversing much of Green MLA Sonia Furstenau’s Cowichan Valley riding. The bus careens down Cowichan Lake Road, roughly parallel to much-busier Highway 18 and presumably the route that walkers and cyclists would take.

Would take. If there were any. There pretty much weren’t.

Big vehicles, mostly pickup trucks, dominate the town of Lake Cowichan. How can this Green valley reconcile this anti-Green lifestyle? Not easily. Still, even more than in Oak Bay, traffic moves slowly, at a relaxed rate that the average Salt Spring Green might achieve only with a heavy dose of environmentally correct Ativan. Downtown Lake Cow’s quite the experience actually, like witnessing a monster truck extravaganza in slow motion and with the volume turned way down.

Residential development sprawls about 15 klicks northwest to the former mill town of Youbou, now home to some fairly recently built large homes for fairly affluent people. Walking seems limited to very short distances to or from a vehicle. The one cyclist I saw looked as conspicuous as the magnificent elk ambling by.

Leave Furstenau’s constituency past Youbou and the road suddenly changes into a rough-hewn dust-cloud topsy-turvy gravel route with potholes big enough to swallow Elon Musk’s next Great Big Idea. For those residents who might drive EVs, that pretty much limits their egress to the road back to Duncan.

 

So, if the typically Canadian vehicle-based lifestyle of B.C.’s Green ridings seems to contradict Green values, what drives—oops, shoulda said “inspires”—their ballot box choice? Did voters not consider their own reliance on vehicles and all the resources used to manufacture, maintain and fuel them? Or did voters just want to send a message to B.C.’s two cynicism-inducing establishment parties? That would be a reassuring thought, one that might restore a smidgeon of faith in our troubled species.

Nevertheless, these ridings make nice places to visit. Parts of them have bus service too, but you’ll have to check out the schedules for yourself. Not likely you’ll find many locals who use transit.

Saskatchewan and Manitoba first and second globally as mining jurisdictions

March 1st, 2017

by Greg Klein | March 1, 2017

Saskatchewan edged one notch upwards to take first place worldwide while Manitoba soared from 19th to second in this year’s Fraser Institute survey of mining and exploration jurisdictions. Those two provinces pushed last year’s top performer, Western Australia, down to third place. Canada’s other top 10 spot went to Quebec, rising to sixth from eighth the year before. All continents but Antarctica came under scrutiny but Canadian, American, Australian and European locales monopolized the top 10.

Farther down the list, the strongest Canadian improvements were Newfoundland and Labrador, climbing to 16th from 25th, and the Northwest Territories, now 21st, previously 35th. Most disappointing were British Columbia (falling to 27th from 18th), Nunavut (31st from 23rd) and Alberta (47th from 34th).

Those findings come from the survey’s Investment Attractiveness Index, which combines two other indices—Policy Perception, a “report card” on government attitudes, and Best Practices Mineral Potential, concerning geological appeal. Representatives of 104 companies responded with their 2016 experiences in mind, giving a numerical rating to questions in several categories regarding their likelihood of investing in a particular jurisdiction. The previous year 109 companies responded.

Here’s the top 10 globally for overall investment attractiveness, with last year’s standings in parentheses:

1 Saskatchewan (2)

2 Manitoba (19)

3 Western Australia (1)

4 Nevada (3)

5 Finland (5)

6 Quebec (8)

7 Arizona (17)

8 Sweden (13)

9 Ireland (4)

10 Queensland (16)

Here are the Canadian runners-up:

15 Yukon (12)

16 Newfoundland and Labrador (25)

18 Ontario (15)

21 Northwest Territories (35)

27 British Columbia (18)

31 Nunavut (23)

40 New Brunswick (45)

47 Alberta (34)

52 Nova Scotia (59)

At least those provinces and territories steered far clear of the bottom 10, where Argentina figures prominently:

95 Mozambique (84)

96 Zimbabwe (98)

97 India (73)

98 Mendoza province, Argentina (101)

99 La Rioja province, Argentina (109)

100 Afghanistan (not available)

101 Chubut province, Argentina (104)

102 Venezuela (108)

103 Neuquen province, Argentina (93)

104 Jujuy province, Argentina (86)

“We believe that the survey captures, at least in broad strokes, the perceptions of those involved in both mining and the regulation of mining in the jurisdictions included in the survey,” stated authors Taylor Jackson and Kenneth P. Green.

Download the Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2016.

Where the money is

June 10th, 2016

Joe Martin sees a fundamental transformation coming to junior financing

by Greg Klein

The old system’s not only broken, it can’t be fixed. The world of finance for mineral exploration is changing and juniors must learn new rules and master new tools to survive. That’s the message from Joe Martin, a former business journalist, the founder of Cambridge House International and a prominent advocate for investment regulatory reform.

Well, better scratch that last designation. He’s no longer advocating reform. “There’s no sense trying to change the existing rules because no one at the executive level wants to,” Martin says. “So we have to look at new opportunities emerging, primarily through electronic media.”

Joe Martin sees a fundamental transformation in junior financing

The reform movement failed, he says, despite encouraging response to an open letter by the Venture Capital Markets Association last August. The status quo prevailed—and for that, Martin blames political indifference, bureaucratic intransigence, the self-serving agendas of Canada’s fragmented securities commissions and banks that wield power over the TSX Venture. “Nobody wants to take action and we don’t have the money to fund a multi-million-dollar campaign,” he says.

Now he’s addressing the juniors, not the regulators, and he’s urging them to recognize new financing opportunities in crowdfunding, peer-to-peer transactions and the U.S. JOBS Act.

Crowdfunding has already prompted considerable buzz, especially with the arrival of Australian mine-funder Mineral Intelligence in late 2015, followed by Canada’s Red Cloud Klondike Strike after Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia laid down a regulatory framework in January. Investors register with Klondike under the ordinary, eligible or accredited category.

Klondike’s first listing, Banyan Gold TSXV:BYN put up a $750,000 offer on March 2. The company closed a more conventional private placement of $200,000 the previous January. By press time, Banyan had yet to update the progress of its online offer.

Following that company by six days, Radisson Mining Resources TSXV:RDS offered up to $1 million on Klondike after completing a $324,000 private placement in December. Radisson expected to complete its offer by April 8. But it wasn’t until June 6 that the company announced closing of the second and final tranche, with a total $675,010 raised.

Joe Martin sees a fundamental transformation in junior financing

Joe Martin: “You’d better get in
this game and learn the new rules.”

Klondike’s biggest involvement so far might be IDM Mining TSXV:IDM, which raised a total of $10.85 million in April with Rob McEwan participating. But IDM didn’t divulge how much crowdfunding contributed. The company had said a portion of the placement would be brokered through a syndicate of Klondike, Haywood Securities and Medalist Capital.

Current offers listed on Klondike come from GoviEx Uranium CSE:GXU (up to $2 million), Sarama Resources ($2.25 million) and Brixton Metals TSXV:BBB ($1 million and $1.3 million).

Martin foresees a fairly gradual transformation but a definite change nevertheless with crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending and the U.S. JOBS Act “all blending together to bring in a new world of financing. P2P, for example, is becoming very big in England.”

With last month’s Tier III enactment of JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups), American crowdfunding has “opened up big time,” Martin says. “Less than 1% of Canadians are accredited investors who can take part in private placements.” The new U.S. regulations allow crowdfunding participants to invest a portion of their income or net worth, up to a percentage that depends on the individual’s financial circumstances.

“Those rules are changing. Canada isn’t changing, so we may be going to the States for financing.”

Martin also sees hope for Canadian juniors on foreign exchanges, as well as the Venture’s rival. “The CSE is doing a pretty good job. They’re a lot easier to deal with.”

Having despaired of fixing the existing system, he sees new opportunities elsewhere—provided juniors adapt. “You’d better get in this game and learn the new rules,” he emphasizes. “But don’t try to change the old ones because we’re not going to get it done.”

Joe Martin addresses the Vancouver Commodity Forum on June 14. Click here for free registration.

Are miners denigrating Canadian geology?

March 4th, 2016

by Greg Klein | March 4, 2016

Are miners denigrating Canadian geology?

 

A look at Canadian jurisdictions in this year’s Fraser Institute Survey of Mining Companies suggests perceptions of the country’s geology have declined. The survey emphasizes two main indexes, one addressing matters of government policy, the other considering geology as well as policy. The biggest changes from the previous year showed up in the latter index.

Called the Investment Attractiveness Index, it weighs responses from mining and exploration professionals, giving 60% for their answers on questions about mineral potential and 40% on questions about public policy. The 60/40 split reflects the way companies generally base their investment decisions, according to the survey.

The IAI ranked New Brunswick 11th out of 12 Canadian jurisdictions (Prince Edward Island wasn’t included) and 45th out of 109 jurisdictions worldwide. That’s a steep fall from the previous year, when New Brunswick came in 19th out of 122 jurisdictions.

But the survey’s Policy Perception Index was less dramatic, showing the province fell from third place in 2014 to ninth place in the current poll.

The IAI dropped Manitoba from fifth to 19th place globally. But the PPI actually raised the province two notches, from 15th to 13th.

Then there’s Nova Scotia, with Canada’s worst IAI score. But the province gets a middling sixth place in Canada for public policy. (Globally, the province ranked 59 on IAI and 17 on PPI.)

Obviously public policy can change significantly and quickly. But, barring dramatic new discoveries, widespread mine depletion or plunging commodity prices, wouldn’t mineral potential undergo more gradual transformation?

When rating geology, companies “have downgraded Canada a bit and they’re saying it’s less attractive this year,” says Fraser Institute policy analyst Taylor Jackson, who co-authored the survey with Kenneth Green. “This is the reason we saw Australia surpass Canada as the region that’s the most overall attractive in the world.”

Jackson adds, “It could be that they’re factoring in that certain commodities are less attractive to them than in the past. It is tough to say, though, what they’re thinking. It could be a combination of things.”

Strangest of all Canadian rankings was Nunavut. The territory showed strong IAI improvement, moving from 34th to 23rd place. That contrasted with its PPI score, which declined from 51st to 54th.

Despite Canada’s slump, Saskatchewan held on to its second-place global IAI position and moved from fifth to fourth place on the global PPI. Apparently the potash gloom failed to overshadow mining-friendly policies and high Athabasca Basin uranium grades.

Download the Fraser Institute Survey of Mining Companies 2015.

Read about the previous week’s Fraser Institute report on permitting times across Canada.

How Long Blues

February 23rd, 2016

The Fraser Institute looks at exploration permit wait times across Canada

by Greg Klein

The Fraser Institute looks at exploration permit wait times across Canada

Mineral explorers in Canada generally wait longer than before for permits, the Fraser Institute reports.
Chart: The Fraser Institute

A country’s mineral output doesn’t necessarily correspond to its geological endowment, a new study reminds us. Other factors also play a role, among them exploration permitting. In many parts of Canada, that early but crucial step towards finding a new mine faces growing wait times, questionable transparency and increasing uncertainty. Those are some of the findings of a Fraser Institute study released February 23. The first-time survey, focusing on this one issue and limited to Canadian jurisdictions, arrives a week before the institute’s annual global survey of miners and explorers.

“This is a topic for which we’ve received feedback both in previous years’ surveys and in conversations we’ve had with explorers, and it’s something they consistently note to us as a growing problem,” says Taylor Jackson, an institute policy analyst and report co-author along with Kenneth Green.

It’s a growing problem in more ways than one. But there’s considerable variation between some jurisdictions, with Saskatchewan shining brightly while Ontario, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut look relatively gloomy. And although it’s slowing, Canadian permitting’s still faster than the global average.

Survey answers came from 122 people reporting on 10 jurisdictions. (Alberta, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island drew too few responses to be included.) Five jurisdictions had the majority saying that permitting times had lengthened over the last decade. Those who reported shorter wait times were the minority. But a slim majority of Newfoundland and Labrador respondents (56%) said wait times had stayed the same.

Saskatchewan, which ranked #2 in last year’s global survey, drew the smallest proportion of complaints (27%) about lengthening wait times.

Of Canada’s three biggest exploration targets, Ontario provoked more wait time pessimism than British Columbia or Quebec. Fourteen percent of Ontario explorers forecast waits of 11 to 14 months, compared to B.C.’s 2% and Quebec’s 3%. Another 7% of Ontario explorers anticipated waiting over two years for a permit, compared to another 2% in B.C. and 3% in Quebec.

The Fraser Institute looks at exploration permit wait times across Canada

A 1983 study found that mineral production in Western countries correlated poorly with geological riches. More recently, about 60% of Fraser Institute respondents say
they base their investment decisions on geology. The rest
cite policy-related factors. Image: The Fraser Institute

Transparency arises as another critical issue. “When explorers do not understand what the rules are or how they are applied, the result can be a deterrent to investment,” the report states.

Manitoba and Saskatchewan drew the highest proportions of respondents (50% and 47% respectively) saying the jurisdiction’s transparency actually encourages exploration. Moreover, the results were mostly positive when combining those who said a jurisdiction’s transparency encourages exploration with those who at least said that transparency concerns didn’t create a deterrent. Only the NWT flunked that one with a dismal 31%, while neighbouring Nunavut got 50%.

Saskatchewan came out on top with 94%, followed by New Brunswick (83%), Newfoundland and Labrador (78%) and Quebec (71%).

Although respondents remained confidential, they weren’t given the chance to express open-ended comments, as the institute’s global survey allows. Jackson says that could change if the survey’s repeated in future years.

The next time we might open it up to Australia and U.S. and get some feedback on how Australian and American states are performing, with the idea of determining who’s got the best practices and make some policy recommendations for Canada.—Taylor Jackson, Fraser Institute policy analyst and report co-author

Nor does the study report specific problems or make recommendations. This initial effort focused on “identifying which jurisdictions are performing well and which are not,” he explains. “The next time we might open it up to Australia and U.S. and get some feedback on how Australian and American states are performing, with the idea of determining who’s got the best practices and make some policy recommendations for Canada.”

Confidentiality’s the key to companies’ candour. So a similar survey about mine permitting would be problematic, Jackson points out. With mine proposals far fewer than exploration projects, governments might suss out who said what.

“But this is an issue that we would like to look at,” he says. “I don’t know if we’d do it in a survey form but it’s certainly an issue for setting up a mine as well.”

Two weeks ago Taseko Mines TSX:TKO launched a lawsuit alleging serious breaches of transparency in the federal process that rejected the company’s proposed New Prosperity mine. Pacific Booker Minerals TSXV:BKM has filed Freedom of Information requests with the B.C. government regarding its rejection of the proposed Morrison mine. The company had previously taken the province to court over the matter.

The institute’s study follows a January report from the Northern Policy Institute examining why “a major mining boom” with nine potential operations in northwestern Ontario failed to materialize.

Do studies like these influence the people who matter?

“I do know that decision-makers are listening to what’s said in the survey,” Jackson responds. “I can say that about the broader mining survey. We have some general examples where politicians have come and talked to us and we’ve seen policy reform later. They take the survey and it helps them identify which areas they’re performing poorly in, so I think they are listening. I don’t know if the message gets across all the time but I would say they are listening.”

Here are Canada’s rankings from last year’s international survey, with their global position in parentheses:

  • Saskatchewan (2)
  • Manitoba (4)
  • Quebec (6)
  • Newfoundland and Labrador (8)
  • Yukon (9)
  • Northwest Territories (15)
  • New Brunswick (21)
  • Alberta (22)
  • Ontario (23)
  • British Columbia (28)
  • Nunavut (29)
  • Nova Scotia (42)

PEI wasn’t included. The institute’s 2015 global survey comes out March 1.

Download Permit Times for Mining Exploration: How Long Are They?

How fares Canada in the Fraser Institute’s global mining survey?

February 25th, 2015

by Greg Klein | February 25, 2015

Saskatchewan’s number two worldwide, Quebec’s back in the top 10 and Manitoba climbed 17 notches. But Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia took a beating in the latest Fraser Institute survey of mining jurisdictions. Released February 24, the study rates 122 jurisdictions (including provinces and states in Canada, the United States, Australia and Argentina) based on 485 returned questionnaires. Drawing on their 2014 experience, mining and exploration companies provided numerical ratings for a number of factors, which the institute tracked on separate indexes.

Most important is the Investment Attractiveness Index, which combines two other indexes—Best Practices Mineral Potential (geology) and Policy Perception (government attitudes). The institute weighs the IAI 60% for geology and 40% for public policy, roughly the same consideration companies reported for their investment decisions.

Here’s the top 10 IAI globally, with 2013 rankings in brackets:

1 Finland (4)
2 Saskatchewan (7)
3 Nevada (2)
4 Manitoba (13)
5 Western Australia (1)
6 Quebec (18)
7 Wyoming (11)
8 Newfoundland and Labrador (3)
9 Yukon (8)
10 Alaska (5)

Here are the Canadian runner-ups:

15 Northwest Territories (25)
21 New Brunswick (23)
22 Alberta (10)
23 Ontario (14)
28 British Columbia (16)
29 Nunavut (27)
42 Nova Scotia (47)

Prince Edward Island wasn’t included.

As for the bottom 10:

113 Sudan
114 Nigeria
115 Bulgaria
116 Guatemala
117 Egypt
118 Solomon Islands
119 Honduras
120 Kenya
121 Hungary
122 Malaysia

The 122 jurisdictions totalled 10 more than in 2013. For inclusion, the institute requires a minimum of 10 responses per jurisdiction.

The anonymous replies also included comments which, for Canadian provinces and territories, note serious but unsurprising concerns.

But for some people, the rankings rankled. B.C.’s 10th-place finish out of 12 Canadian jurisdictions doesn’t jibe with the province’s second-place status for mining investment, according to the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia. Citing data from Natural Resources Canada, AME BC credited Ontario as Canada’s favourite for attracting investment. Fraser Institute respondents stuck that province with ninth place in Canada.

“Furthermore, one of the best indicators of success in exploration is seeing discoveries move through to mine development,” said AME BC president/CEO Gavin Dirom. “In recent years, we have seen a number of new major metal mines constructed in our province, including Copper Mountain in 2011, New Afton in 2012 and Mount Milligan in 2013. Also, Red Chris is being readied for commercial operations, and the KSM and Kitsault mine development projects have received environmental assessment certificates.”

The NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines noted the Northwest Territories’ considerable improvement and its breakaway territory’s slight slump. The organization vowed to continue working with federal and territorial governments “to improve the investment climate for exploration and mining in the two territories.”

Download the Fraser Institute Survey of Mining Companies 2014.