Mexico mining chief favors tax help for cash-strapped miners
By David Alire Garcia
MEXICO CITY, April 15 (Reuters) - Mexico's top mining official says he backs the industry's push for tax legislation that would save hundreds of millions of dollars a year in exploration costs, though they have yet to win over the country's powerful finance ministry.
Mario Cantu, the economy ministry's mining chief, said in an interview on Thursday that Mexico's mining lobby is seeking a series of meetings with members of Congress to also press its case for tax help for the ailing sector.
"The mining chamber ... is making its argument and asking for support," he said, adding he is also lobbying for the tax change to help miners as they grapple with multiyear lows in metals prices.
Mexico is the world's biggest silver producer, as well as a Top 10 gold and copper producer.
It may be an uphill slog for companies to again be able to deduct exploration costs in the same year they are incurred. The deduction was eliminated in 2013 just as new mining taxes were enacted.
The change is opposed by Mexico's powerful finance ministry, which said in a statement to Reuters it has "no plans" to formally propose it.
"It isn't appropriate because it would only allow immediate investment deductions for the mining sector," the ministry said in a statement.
The value of total mining production in Mexico last year stood at $13.5 billion, down about one-quarter since 2012. Continued...