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SA improves on mining investment attractiveness index

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South Africa moved up 14 places to 53th out of 112 jurisdictions surveyed in the latest Fraser Institute ranking of the world's most attractive regions for mining investment.

The Canada-based think-tank's 2013/14 Survey of Mining Companies, released on Monday, is based on the opinions of mining executives representing 690 mineral exploration and development companies on the investment climate of 112 jurisdictions around the world.

The companies participating in the survey reported exploration spending of US$4.6-billion in 2012 and $3.4-billion in 2013.

In the previous survey, for 2012/13, South Africa was ranked 67th out of 79 jurisdictions in the survey's overall Investment Attractiveness Index.

South Africa's rise to 53rd in the latest rankings was accompanied by an improvement in its score from 47.8 to 54.7 out of a possible 100, and put the country at seventh-best for mining investment attractiveness in Africa, after Botswana (24th), Ghana (33rd), Namibia (34th), Zambia (41st), Eritrea (48th) and Burkina Faso (49th).

Topping the Fraser Institute's rankings for 2013/14 is Western Australia, followed by the US state of Nevada, Canadian province Newfoundland and Labrador, Finland and Alaska.

The institute's Investment Attractiveness Index is constructed by combining two other indices, a Policy Perception Index which measures the effects of government policy on mining companies' attitudes toward exploration investment, and a Best Practices Mineral Potential Index which rates regions based on their geological attractiveness.

On the Policy Perception Index, South Africa improved its score from 35.0 to 39.8 out of a possible 100, while remaining at 64th place in the rankings - although the number of jurisdictions surveyed had grown from 96 to 112.

According to a report in Business Day on Tuesday, South Africa "picked up points in investor perceptions of its current regulations, its legal system, tax and infrastructure. But investors were less complimentary about its environmental regulations, regulatory efficiency and labour regulations. On labour regulations, it ranked fourth from the bottom - only two places above Venezuela."

On the Mineral Potential Index, South Africa climbed 13 places from 50th out of 96 jurisdictions to 37 out of 112 jurisdictions, making it the fifth most geologically attractive African country after the Democratic Republic of Congo (26th), Zambia (28th), Botswana (30th) and Ghana (32nd).

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