First and foremost, Canada offers unparalleled mineral exploration discovery potential, with diversified geological terranes, and among the richest variety of mineral endowment worldwide, including the richest and most prolific Archean greenstone belts in the world. Canada is the world’s number-one producer of potash and among the leading producers of key commodities such as primary aluminum, cobalt, diamonds, gold, nickel, platinum group metals, salt, tungsten, and uranium. Geographically, it is the second largest country in the world and offers its exploration community free digital access to state-of-the-art geoscience databases including up-to-date mineral tenure information. As such, a cluster of over 3,000 mining-related equipment and service providers supports Canadian-based mining and exploration companies in over 100 countries around the world. Areas of expertise include: exploration, exploration financing, investment analysis, due diligence, legal services, geophysics, geology, geochemistry, remote sensing, drilling, analytical laboratories, engineering services, logistical support, and environmental management, to name just a few.
Companies listed on Canadian stock exchanges (TSX and TSX-V) are responsible for between one third and one half of all global equity raised for mineral development. In fact, over 55% of the world’s publicly listed mining companies list in Canada. Canada’s standing as a world source of equity financing for mineral capital is supported by the governments of Canada through security regulators that impose disclosure standards on firms to provide timely and accurate reporting to investors, helping to ensure fair and efficient capital markets. Since 2002, Canada has ranked 1st in nonferrous mineral exploration budgets.
Fundamental to Canada’s attractiveness as a destination for mineral investment capital is its highly stable federal-provincial/territorial political system, its modern mining law, as well as highly advantageous exploration tax credits and other incentives. Canada’s tax regimes for mining are amongst the most competitive in the world and reflect the realities of provincial ownership and royalties, high risk, and capital intensity, as well as a conscious decision by government to encourage this industrial activity.
Mineral rights can be leased by individuals or companies, and these leases are fully transferable without government intervention or review. A basic principle of the Canadian system is “use it or lose it.” To keep a claim in good standing, a company must undertake a minimum level of work each year, ensuring that companies do not hold large blocks of land indefinitely. Within the Canadian system, there is a clear and defined process by which a proponent moves a project from discovery to production. Not surprisingly, the 2018 Fraser Institute indicated that Canada is once again the most attractive region in the world for investment, followed by Australia and then the United States. Within Canada, there are 6 jurisdictions ranked among the top 12 in terms of overall Investment Attractiveness worldwide; these are Saskatchewan, Quebec, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Newfoundland & Labrador, and Manitoba.
Rules and regulations are well known and are applied in a non-discriminatory fashion to both domestic and foreign companies alike. Foreign investors wishing to establish a new enterprise are generally free to do so, without restrictions on foreign exchange or on the repatriation of capital or profits, withholding tax rates are low, and equity capital can be repatriated tax free.