Australia's big mining boom may be over, but we are still seen as the best place in the world to invest in mineral exploration.
The Canadian Fraser Institute's Annual Survey of Mining Companies captures the opinions of leaders in mineral and mining companies about global resource potential and existing investment barriers.
Of the 104 jurisdictions assessed in the latest 2016 report, Western Australia was seen as the third most attractive destination for exploration investment, while Queensland and South Australia were ranked tenth and thirteenth, respectively.
The 350 survey respondents rated Australia as a whole as the most attractive region in the world for investment.
The overall investment attractiveness index takes into account a region's geology and its policy settings. But while Australia's resource potential shines, its investment environment is seen as far less competitive.
Thus the potential of Western Australia's mineral resource topped the list of all assessed jurisdictions, while Queensland's was ranked fourth.
But based on its policy environment Western Australia just scraped into the top ten, while South Australia was ranked 21st and Queensland fell back to 36th place.
New South Wales, placed 66th, has the least attractive investment environment of all jurisdictions in Australia, which reflects increasingly negative perceptions of areas such as labour market regulations, and the legal system. The following comment from an exploration company and highlighted in the report reflects these concerns:
"The government has instigated a new permitting and regulatory regime for mineral exploration supposedly to streamline and assist explorers. The overall effect has been to slow down and complicate the permitting process."