An annual survey of mine executives has ranked Alaska with the third-nicest taxes in the nation for their companies, and the 10th most attractive worldwide.
That's behind Wyoming, number one in the world, and No. 3 Nevada.
The Fraser Institute, a conservative think tank in Vancouver, surveys executives each year and ranks areas worldwide for their attractiveness in terms of policies, regulations, stability and mineral potential.
Last year Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, cited the study's rankings of Alaska tax regime as evidence that the state's royalties laws needed an update. He reintroduced the mining tax bill this year.
This year the survey asked about the global economy, too, and the answers tended toward the pessimistic. More than four out of five miners believed at least 30 percent of exploration companies would be forced out of business in the downturn, and two out of five said they thought more than half the companies would drop out.
"Financing junior mining companies is extremely difficult at present. Hard to understand the current market valuations," the report quoted one unnamed exploration company president.
The gloom echoes another recent publication from the University of Alaska's Institute for Social and Economic Research that predicts the Alaska mining industry's exploration, development and upgrade spending will drop 25 percent this year.
That's not only from the recession's effects on metals prices, but also because some projects from previous years are now completed, the report said.
A few other Alaska figures from the Fraser survey:
Alaska ranked 14th of 71 states or countries worldwide for current mineral potential.
Ninety percent of the executives said Alaska's policies and mineral potential, taken together, either encouraged investment (75 percent) or were not a deterrent (10 percent).
More than 60 percent said that uncertainty concerning which areas would be protected as wilderness areas or parks deterred investment; about two-thirds of those indicated a "mild" deterrent.
On the predictability of the rules, two-thirds said the administration, interpretation and enforcement of Alaska's regulations either encouraged or didn't deter investment here; one-third said they were a deterrent.
Contact reporter Kate Golden at 523-2276 or email@example.com.
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