Canadian think tank Fraser Institute has ranked Nevada, in the western United States, as the most attractive jurisdiction in the world for mining investment, Kallanish reports.

Western Australia is second and Saskatchewan is third. The rest of the top-10 jurisdictions are Newfoundland and Labrador, Colorado, Australia’s Northern Territory, Arizona, Quebec, South Australia and Botswana.

A year ago, Western Australia was first in the rankings, followed by Saskatchewan and Nevada, says the independent, non-partisan policy think tank.

The least-attractive jurisdiction for mining investment is Zimbabwe. Eight out of 10 worst countries are in Africa. Zimbabwe topped Mozambique, South Sudan, Angola, Zambia, South Africa, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Papua New Guinea and Tanzania.

“A sound regulatory regime coupled with competitive taxes makes a jurisdiction attractive to investors,” says Elmira Aliakbari, director of the Fraser Institute’s Centre for Natural Resources Study and a co-author of the new report. “Policymakers across the globe should understand that mineral deposits alone are not enough to attract investment.”

The new report ranks 62 jurisdictions around the globe based on their geologic attractiveness and government policies that encourage or deter exploration and investment.

The new listings confirm that Australia is a top mining jurisdiction with three jurisdictions in the top-10, says Tania Constable, ceo of the Minerals Council of Australia. “Despite the results, Australia shouldn’t rest on its laurels,” she warns.

The Fraser Institute also ranked the top-10 for what it calls its policy perception index, measuring overall policy attractiveness. No. 1 is Nevada, followed by Botswana, South Australia, Utah, Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta, Arizona, New Brunswick, Colorado and Western Australia. On that basis, the 10 worst ranking jurisdictions are Zimbabwe, Guinea (Conakry), Mozambique, China, Angola, Papua New Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nunavat, Mongolia and South Africa.