Mexico gears up for international arbitration, searches for legal counsel

First Majestic’s La Encantada silver mine in Mexico. (Image: First Majestic Silver Corp.)

Mexico’s government has requested bids to hire legal counsel for international arbitration in two upcoming investor-state cases in which Mexico is the defendant and just as another ten cases could also be brought against the country, an official document showed.

The winning bid will advise the government during fiscal year 2022 in investor-state cases brought against Mexico by Canadian miner First Majestic Silver Corp, as well as U.S. oilfield services firms Finley Resources, MWS Management, and Prize Permanent Holdings, according to the Mexican Economy Ministry’s 97-page document outlining its request.

In March, Canadian miner First Majestic said it started legal proceedings against the government of Mexico following a prolonged tax dispute. Mexico has calculated that First Majestic owes 11 billion pesos ($544 million) in delinquent taxes.

The U.S. oilfield services firms also requested international arbitration in March regarding contracts entered into with a unit of Mexican state oil firm Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex Exploracion y Produccion) in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

The winner of the bid may also provide services in the ten notifications of intent published by Mexico’s General Directorate of Legal Consulting for International Trade (DGCJCI) “if these become international arbitration,” it added.

The public document, which was posted on the Mexico’s e-Procurement system, said it will receive bids until Oct. 14 and that the contract would start from Jan. 1, 2022.

The ten investors that may initiate arbitration proceedings according to DGCJCI include AMERRA Capital Management; Doups Holdings; Sepadeve International; Gonzalo Mora Velarde; Primero Mining Corp; Dal-Tile International and Dal Tile Corporation; Jinlong Dongli Minera Internacional; Tralje International Finance; CMSA B.V. and Contecon Manzanillo; and Coeur Mining.

(By Anthony Esposito and Diego Ore; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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