UPDATE 1-Mexico violence hits Canadian silver miner's operations

(Recasts first paragraph, adds Pan American Silver comments, background)

May 28 (Reuters) - Pan American Silver Corp became the latest company to curtail operations in Mexico due to rising violence and crime, saying on Monday it has faced security incidents along the roads used to transport personnel and materials to its Dolores mine.

The Vancouver-headquartered company said it will maintain personnel at its open-pit Dolores silver mine in the border state of Chihuahua at levels necessary for site security and reduced operating activities.

“We have been monitoring the situation, and with the recent incidents that have occurred along the access roads, we have determined the prudent course of action is to suspend personnel movements to and from the mine until the roads are safe for our employees,” Michael Steinmann, the mining company’s president and chief executive, said in a statement.

Shares in Pan American Silver, one of the world’s biggest silver producers, were down more than 5 percent in Monday morning trade.

Pan American Silver’s announcement follows decisions by several other firms to scale back Mexican operations in recent weeks as a wave of gang violence and organized crime drives murders to record highs.

Coca-Cola Femsa, the world’s largest Coke bottler, indefinitely shut down its 160-employee distribution center in Ciudad Altamirano in southwestern Guerrero state in March.

Train and truck freight thefts have soared too as criminals employ ever more sophisticated methods to terrorize the nation’s network of railway lines and highways. Some truckers now hire armed escorts to travel alongside them, as robberies doubled in 2017 to nearly 3,000.

Last week, miner and infrastructure firm Grupo Mexico said seven freight train derailments, between the key commercial port of Veracruz and central Mexico, were due to “sabotage” and would cost the company 312 million pesos ($16 million).

Chihuahua’s long border with Texas and New Mexico is a primary entry point for drug smugglers entering the United States. (Reporting by Anthony Esposito Editing by James Dalgleish)