For those who invest in silver, it is interesting to know which countries are the main producers of the precious metal. Since that allows us to understand the supply that is added to the market. Below, we analyze the top 10 worldwide.
- Main silver producing countries
There is no doubt that we live in times of economic and geopolitical uncertainty. And in recent years we have seen the rise of monetary uncertainty.
The actions taken by governments and central banks have led to a considerable increase in the cost of living everywhere. This means money has lost a great amount of its purchasing power.
Because of this, many savers and investors have begun to look for investment options to protect the real value of their wealth. And precious metals can be a fantastic vehicle for that.
Of all the precious metals in existence, gold and silver are the ones considered to have monetary characteristics. This is because they have been used as money throughout history. And in many countries, such as India, they have always been used as savings instruments.
But there are important differences between gold and silver. Especially if we look at the dynamics that determine the supply and demand for them.
Gold is quite easy to understand. The demand for gold fluctuates with investors’ interest in a conservative alternative to cash and bonds. Hence, it is considered a safe haven asset.
The supply of gold is quite stable, increasing the amount of metal available by 1-2% per year, because almost all the gold mined is used for investment, due to its high value.
Silver, on the other hand, is much more complex, because its supply and demand dynamics are exposed to multiple variables.
Demand for silver can be both monetary, like that of gold, and industrial. And industrial applications are countless, including things like electric cars, solar panels, and the so-called energy transition that is taking place.
And because more than half of the silver extracted is used and not recycled, an increase in demand will lead to either an increase in supply or higher prices.
The supply of silver is also more volatile than that of gold. Production responds to both existing metal prices and the discovery of new silver deposits. In 2019, about 27,000 tons of silver were extracted.
To better understand the supply side, it is important to know which countries are the main producers of silver. Below, we look at the top 10 silver producing countries in the world:
Mexico is the leading country when it comes to silver production and has some of the largest mines in the world. The North American country is also considered one of the safest jurisdictions due to the low political risk.
Throughout 2019, more than 6,000 tons of silver were mined in Mexico. This corresponds to almost a quarter of global production. Such high percentage indicates that our economy is directly or indirectly dependent on the supply of silver from Mexico.
The main silver companies in the country are Fresnillo, Pan American Silver, First Majestic, and Coeur Mining.
In second place, and therefore deserving of the silver medal in this category, we have Peru. The South American country is a riskier jurisdiction from a political perspective.
In 2019 about 4,160 tons of silver were produced in Peru. This corresponds to more than 15% of the global production. Using a reference price of $20 per ounce, this results in a turnover of $2.5 billion.
Some of the main operators in Peru are Buenaventura, Volcan, and Hochschild Mining.
The Asian giant, China, is third in the ranking of top 10 silver producing countries. It is also the number one gold producer in the world.
Silver has a lot of history in China, as it has been used there for thousands of years. In fact, one of the main reasons why European countries attacked China in the 19th century was silver.
China produced more than 3,500 tons in 2019. But, unlike the rest of the countries, which mainly export their production, China needs it to manufacture the products it will later export. Among those products we can find mobile phones and computers, all equipped with silver.
Russia is one of the countries with the most natural resources in the world. It is also one of the leading producers of silver. But the political situation has become very stable since 2022.
With 2,100 tons extracted in 2019, it supplied 8% of the world’s silver throughout that year.
One of the main silver producing companies in Russia is Polymetal, headquartered in St. Petersburg, and traded both in Moscow and London. In fact, it used to be a member of the main British stock index, the Footsie 100.
Poland is the only country in Europe, except for Russia, with a considerable level of precious metals production. For this reason, we find it in fifth place in terms of silver production, with about 1,500 annual tons extracted.
Because it is a country in the European Union, we are talking about a very safe jurisdiction. It is, however, more exposed to regulatory risk, especially if Brussels wants to penalize any economic activity that is not considered “green”.
The company KGHM, of Polish origin, is not only the main silver producer in the country, but also the world. For those interested in it, KGHM is listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.
South of Peru, Chile is another silver producing country. As you can see, South America has abundant reserves of this precious metal. In 2019 the country extracted 1,370 tons.
This should not surprise us since Chile is one of the world leaders in copper production. And silver is often found in copper deposits and mined as a byproduct.
The main corporations in the country are the Chilean National Copper Corporation of Chile, and the foreign companies Orion Fund, Anglo American, and BHP.
With a production of around 1,200 tons of silver, Bolivia is in 7th place in the world ranking. In fact, it is the smallest country among those in the top 10.
In addition, many domestic companies operate here. Its main corporations include Minera San Cristóbal, Corporación Minera de Bolivia, and Empresa Minera Manquiri.
Famosa por sus abundantes reservas minerales, y por su dependencia económica en la exportación de las mismas a China, Australia registró en 2019 una producción de plata similar a la de Bolivia, de unas 1.200 toneladas.
Entre las principales empresas que operan dentro del país oceánico nos encontramos con South32, Glencore y China Minmetals. Es decir, una mezcla de capital autóctono y extranjero.
Argentina is the ninth country in the world in terms of silver production. Consequently, half of the countries in the top 10 are South American.
With around 1,000 tons extracted every year, this generates revenues of around $600 million. Argentina also has reserves of other metals, including gold.
The main companies in the country are of foreign capital. Among them, Pan American Silver, AngloGold Ashanti, and Goldcorp stand out.
10) United States
In tenth position, and with an annual production of about 930 tons of silver, we have the United States.
Although the North American country does not dominate in terms of domestic production, its companies do dominate the sector globally. This is because many international mining companies are headquartered in the United States.
Within the US, Pan American Silver and First Majestic operate some of the most important silver deposits.
I hope you liked this analysis of silver producing countries and encourage you to subscribe to my newsletter:
And for those interested in reading about investing in natural resources, check out this section: