Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute is the top think tank in Canada and is often ranked among the top 20 think tanks worldwide, in the Global Go-To Think Tanks Index published by the University of Pennsylvania.

According to the Fraser Institute:

"Our mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families, and future generations by studying, measuring, and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship, and choice on their well-being. Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, the Fraser Institute has regional offices in Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. We produce research about government actions in areas that deeply affect Canadians’ quality of life such as taxation, health care, aboriginal issues, education, economic freedom, energy, natural resources and the environment. Measurement is the foundation for all our work. Careful, accurate, rigorous measurement.

"If it matters, measure it" is a slogan you will see around our office. Things that are measured can be talked about. Things that are talked about in the public arena eventually become part of the climate of opinion. That is how measurement can change the climate of opinion.Sometimes our research recommends public policy solutions that some people feel are controversial. We work to ensure that people become more knowledgeable about the outcomes of various public policies and can then make more informed decisions. Our research is peer-reviewed and overseen by an Editorial Advisory Board of leading international scholars. The Fraser Institute promotes transparency in research – in other words, our methodology is open and clearly explained, and others can replicate our conclusions. In addition, the source of our data is always provided. Fraser Institute research is independently conducted."

It is the natural resource branche I am interested in. The Fraser Institute publishes an annual report on the mining industry, called the Fraser Institute Survey of Mining Companies. In this report the institute presents the degree of mining friendly policies around the world among other things, and these mining friendly policies are composed of many factors like taxes, uncertainty concerning regulations, permitting, legal system, political stability, security, work disruptions, etc. This all results in a score and a corresponding ranking of jurisdictions, and the score on mining friendly policies (Policy Perception Index or PPI) is important to estimate risks for companies working in relevant jurisdictions, as it can have a huge influence on mining projects.

The Survey isn't perfect as it is based on companies willing to do the Survey, and telling like it is or not, as companies might have all sorts of agendas not to participate or represent the real situation of a relevant jurisdiction. And sometimes a situation can be more nuanced, like permitting in Finland, always ranking very high, isn't a problem proces-wise, but it takes a very long time as it is very thorough, therefore often hampering projects and in the end disadvantaging investors. Notwithstanding this, I found the Survey to be useful, and if a jurisdiction is ranked outside the top 20 of the PPI, the most important index for country/jurisdictional risk, and as such for me the most important index of the entire Survey, additional due diligence on jurisdictions is often warranted.You can find the latest ranking of jurisdictions in a table on this website via Data > Fraser Survey.

A household example in mining of jurisdictional risk is the socalled "African Discount", but there is also an "Arctic discount". The Fraser Institute introduced the Investment Attractiveness Index a few years ago as the most important index, and the Policy Perception Index as second, but make no mistake: the mining community only looks at the Policy Perception Index, as every mining company makes the decision beforehand about the project or claims it buys for a qualifying transaction or IPO. Besides that, a geological prospective area can generate disappointing drill results, and vice versa.

The original, last 2020 Survey can be found here. 

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