Silver is a precious metal with varied uses including making mirrors, in digital photography, in medicine, making jewellery, in currency, for storage of wealth and more. Here, we explore the top 10 countries that produce silver across the world.
Canada has several silver mining companies, and British Columbia is home to large silver deposits that are yet to be mined. Despite that, Canada extracts a larger percentage of its top-notch silver from different polymetallic veins that don’t yield a lot of silver. Canada recorded a rise in silver production from 493 to 500 metric tonnes in 2015.
9. United States
Since 1858, United States has been producing silver. Today, Alaska and Nevada are the two-leading silver-producing states in the United States. In 2015, the country produced 1,090 metric tonnes of silver, mainly from three of its dedicated silver mines and about 40 other precious metal mining operations across the country. In 2016, the United States produced 1,100 metric tonnes. The largest silver producer in the US is Coeur Mining. While the Coeur’s projects are not focused on silver, it operates silver mines in Australia and South America.
The silver output of Bolivia remained steady at 1,300 metric tonnes between 2015 and 2016, although there is still room for expansion of the country’s silver industry. Bolivia has several silver mines, especially in the Potosi region. Besides, the San Cristobal mine is the third largest silver reserve of any mine globally, and is operated by Sumitomo.
In 2016, Poland’s output was 1,400 metric tonnes, matching Australia’s output. This was an increase of 220 metric tonnes from 2015. Poland based silver producing company, Polka Meidsz, is one of the world’s leading silver producers. A survey by Silver Institute of Poland shows that the country can raise its production capacity by expanding its mining companies.
Russia’s output sunk to 1,400 MT in 2016 from 1,430 MT in 2015. Although Russia’s silver reserves are not known, it has been among the top producers of silver for years. Polymetal International is Russia’s largest silver producer. The company dominates silver mining across Russia and operates four of the top five silver mines in the country. In 2016, Polymetal generated 7 million ounces – a 3 percent drop from 2015.
In 2016, Australia’s mines churned out 1,400 metric tonnes of silver, which was a slight drop from 1,430 metric tonnes in 2015. That drop positioned Australia as the fifth-largest producer of silver in the world. Despite that, Australia has a rich history of silver mining, which dates back to the 1920s when BHP Billiton started there as a silver operation. To this day, BHP Billiton a huge mining company with outlets dotted in different countries. It is Australia’s largest silver producer, and operates Queensland’s Cannington mine, which leads in silver production than any other mine in Australia.
Chile takes the fourth position; it produced 1,500 metric tonnes in 2016 up from 1,380 metric tonnes in 2015. That rise catapulted Chile from the fifth to the fourth largest producer of silver in the world. In the next three years, Chile’s government has decided to raise the production by creating new strategies and rolling out extraction plans that would be more cost effective and energy efficient.
China took the fourth position in terms of silver production back in 2002, and it earned the title: “solid mid-tier producer of silver.” Ever since, China’s production has gradually increased placing it in the third position of top silver producers in the world. China produced 3,600 metric tonnes of silver in 2016. A large percentage of China’s development can be attributed to its other mining operations – in 2012, almost 95 percent of China’s silver production resulted from other mining projects.
Silvercorp Metals is China’s largest silver producer. It owns numerous mines in the country, and on June 30, 2017, it announced a sale of 1.5 million ounces of silver.
Other than being the second-largest producer of silver, with an output of 4,100 metric tonnes in 2016, Peru has some of the largest silver reserves in the world. With about 120,000 known metric tonnes of silver, Peru has a colossal potential of untapped silver that could see it climb the global rankings in future.
Most of Peru’s silver originates from the Antamina mine situated in Northern Peru. This mine is jointly owned by BHP Billiton, Glencore, Mitsubishi, and Teck Resources. Whilst this mine generates more silver than other mines in Peru, it is mainly a copper mine. Silver is therefore a by-product of the copper mining process.
Fortuna Silver Mines is a fast-growing company in silver production, and has two operating mines, one located in Peru. In 2016, the company reported 7,380,217 ounces of silver production.
Mexico is the leading silver producing country in the world and has maintained this position for 7 consecutive years. In 2016, its output shot to 5,600 metric tonnes. This was up by 230 metric tonnes from 2015. Fresnillo, the world’s most productive silver companies is located in Mexico. Fresnillo extracts gold and silver at six mines in Mexico, and has many other projects at different phases of development. By the end of June 2017, Mexico had produced 28.04 million ounces of silver, which is an 11 percent increment from what it produced in the first half of 2016.
Goldcorp is another massive silver producer in Mexico and Penasquito is its mine. In 2013, Penasquito produced the highest amount of silver in the world. Like most of the other silver mines, Penasquito mainly produces gold, and silver is often one of the by-products.
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