Yukon slips in mining survey standings

Yukon's reputation as an attractive location for mining investment has suffered in the last year, according to an annual survey of mining companies.

Yukon’s reputation as an attractive location for mining investment has suffered in the last year, according to an annual survey of mining companies.

The Fraser Institute’s 2015 survey ranked the Yukon 12th out of 109 jurisdictions around the world in terms of its ability to encourage investment. That’s down from sixth place out of 122 jurisdictions in 2014.

This year’s survey was completed by 449 individuals working in mineral exploration, producing mines and consulting companies. The respondents, who were mostly presidents, vice-presidents and managers, were asked to rate the mineral potential of jurisdictions they were familiar with. They were also asked how each of 15 policy factors influenced their investment decisions.

Analysts then combined the mineral potential and policy perceptions to calculate the overall investment attractiveness of each jurisdiction.

This year’s top spot went to Western Australia, with Saskatchewan in second place. Yukon was ranked third among Canadian jurisdictions, after Saskatchewan and Quebec.

The Argentinian province of La Rioja finished at the very bottom of the list, replacing Venezuela, which ranked last in 2014.

Taylor Jackson, a policy analyst with the Fraser Institute, said Yukon’s performance is “not bad overall.”

Yukon placed fourth for its mineral potential, which Jackson called a “top performance.” Still, that’s down from first place in 2014.

But the territory fared worse in policy perceptions, placing 39th in the world. Its policy ranking has been dropping steadily since 2012, when it landed in 13th place.

“For the Yukon, I think there should be a little bit of concern,” Jackson said. “Are they missing out on opportunities for exploration and investment in the territory?”

Survey respondents were asked to rate the jurisdictions according to 15 policy criteria, including environmental regulations, regulatory duplication, taxation, land claims and trade barriers.

For Yukon, Jackson said, “there are two areas that really stand out … and that’s uncertainty from protected areas and uncertainty on disputed land claims.”

The territory placed near the bottom of the list for both those criteria, landing in 99th place out of 109 for uncertainty around land claims.

Yukon also fared poorly in terms of the quality of its infrastructure, ending up in 81st place. But Jackson said that’s a harder obstacle to overcome in Canada’s North.

“This is something that comes up that really does separate the territories from the provinces,” he said.

The report doesn’t specify which land claims and protected areas have caused the uncertainty. But it does include comments from a couple of respondents.

“A mine was initially permitted to extract ore from one deposit; subsequent discoveries meant that permits had to be amended to accommodate additional mining,” reads one comment from the president of an exploration company. “Each amendment took several years, longer than the mine-life of the new deposits being permitted for mining.”

The vice-president of an exploration company also criticized the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board, writing that “These boards often outsource expertise to consulting firms to advise the board on the adequacy of proponent submissions, and the information requests and demands from these consultants and the board are strangling the industry at what should be a planning level study.”

YESAB has recently come under fire for referring two major projects, Northern Cross and Casino, to higher levels of assessment. Critics have said the board is understaffed and inefficient.

But in the category most likely to reflect those criticisms, regulatory duplication and inconsistencies, the Yukon didn’t score as badly, landing in 36th place.

Still, Yukon was ranked third in Canada in terms of room for improvement, behind the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

The territory was ranked first in the world for investment attractiveness in 2011 and 2012, but dropped to eighth place in 2013.

Contact Maura Forrest at


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

The Yukon Department of Education building in Whitehorse on Dec. 22, 2020. Advocates are calling on the Department of Education to reverse their redefinition of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) that led to 138 students losing the program this year. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Advocates call redefinition of IEPs “hugely concerning,” call for reversal

At least 138 students were moved off the learning plans this year

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21, 2020. Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive up to $20,000 to help recover from losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Details released on relief funding for tourism and culture non-profits

Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive… Continue reading

Most Read