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Mexican president pressures Canadian miner in simmering tax dispute

·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: Mexico's President Lopez Obrador addresses to the nation on his second anniversary as President, at the National Palace in Mexico City

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday urged a Canadian mining company in the country to pay outstanding taxes, saying it was hiding behind the threat of international litigation to shirk its obligations.

Questioned at a news conference about the tax burden on mining firms in Mexico, Lopez Obrador said there were Canadian companies that met all their fiscal obligations.

"However, this other company does not," Lopez Obrador said, describing the miner as operating in Tayoltita in the northern state of Durango, without disclosing its name.

He appeared to be referring to First Majestic Silver Corp, which operates the San Dimas silver and gold mine in Tayoltita, one of its three working mines in Mexico.

Reuters reported this month that the government planned to seek 11 billion pesos ($534 million) from First Majestic in delinquent taxes.

First Majestic declined to comment on Lopez Obrador's remarks.

The company said previously it would pursue all legal options, including under international law, if it could not reach an agreement with tax authorities.

Lopez Obrador said the company was attempting to use international tribunals to protect itself.

"It has to pay taxes and it doesn't want to pay taxes," he said, adding he hoped the Canadian Embassy would take note of what he was saying. "Hopefully the ambassador ... urges them to come to their senses, because this cannot be permitted."

A spokeswoman for the embassy said it could not comment on matters involving private companies but that the ambassador was aware of the issue.

Lopez Obrador previously called on the Canadian mining sector to bring itself up to date on taxes amid a government push to boost corporate tax collection.

(Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; Additional reporting by Dave Graham in Mexico City and Jeff Lewis in Toronto; Editing by Peter Cooney)