Canadian miners complain of hefty taxes, weak rule of law in Mexico

MEXICO CITY, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Canadian miners are seeking a meeting with Mexico’s president to air grievances about issues ranging from the rule of law to aggressive tax collection, according to an unusually strident letter by an industry group published on Monday.

President Enrique Pena Nieto should intervene for Mexico to “recover its position in relation to other investment destinations in the hemisphere,” the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Mexico (CanCham) wrote on behalf of the miners, in a letter printed in Mexico’s Reforma newspaper.

The letter cited unrest earlier this month at Goldcorp’s Penasquito gold mine in the state of Zacatecas, where a week-long blockade by a trucking contractor forced operations to shut down temporarily.

“Goldcorp did not get support from Mexican institutions to end the illegal blockade and was forced to negotiate individually with the truckers in the absence of the application of the law,” the letter read.

CanCham also flagged “a policy of aggressive tax collection” at SAT, Mexico’s tax authority, complaining of a spike in the number of audits and delays in receiving value-added-tax (VAT) refunds. They also expressed concern about new mining royalties.

Reuters reported last year that Mexico’s government withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in tax refunds owed to Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and Colgate combined as it sought to coax them and other multinationals to pay more income tax locally.

Neither the president’s office nor SAT responded to requests for comment. (Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Sandra Maler)