ANALYST MISTAKEN: World Silver Production Did Not Rise In 2015, It Declined

There was a recent report stating that global silver production increased in 2015.  Sadly to say, it was wrong.  World silver production did not rise in 2015, it declined.  The folks at Smaulgld.com put out an article yesterday titled, Global Silver Mining Production Increases In 2015.

In the article Smaulgld stated the following:

In its January 2016 report, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimated that global silver mining production rose about 2% in 2015. The USGS estimated total global silver mining production in 2015 to be 27,300 metric tonnes (877,714,110 ounces of silver*) vs. 26,800 metric tonnes (861,638,760 ounces*) tonnes in 2014.

Why?  Because I have the actual data from the various government websites that show declines, not increases.  Furthermore, I have email exchanges and speak with the USGS silver specialist and know that the information is only preliminary and should not be viewed as accurate.

First, let’s start with the USGS 2016 Silver Mineral Commodity Summary Report:

USGS-Silver-2015-Production

As we can see, the data in the USGS table shows global silver production increasing from 26,800 metric tons (mt) in 2014 to 27,300 mt in 2015.  Again, these are estimates.  Let’s focus on four of the countries, Mexico, Peru, Chile & Canada.

According to the USGS, they show all four of these countries increasing in silver production in 2015.  However, only one country actually reported an increase in silver production… and that was Peru:

Peru-Silver-Production-2015

This table is taken directly from Peru’s Ministry of Energy & Mines website.  Silver production is shown as “Plata” at the bottom of the table.  Peru’s silver production increased 8.8% in 2015 over 2014 by 334 mt.  The USGS only shows Peru increasing production by 20 mt, whereas it was 334 mt.

Secondly, the next three countries actually reported declines in silver production.  Let’s look at Canada first:

Canada-Silver-Production-2015

Silver mine production from Canada declined 23% from 493 mt in 2014 to 379 mt in 2015.  The data in the USGS table above shows Canada producing 500 mt of silver in 2015.  They overestimated it by 121 mt.

Next, we have Chile.  The USGS shows Chile increasing silver production by 30 mt to 1,600 mt in 2015.  Unfortunately, this data is also incorrect.  According to the figures put out by the Chilean Copper Commission, domestic silver production declined from 1,573 mt in 2014 to 1,504 mt in 2015:

Chile-Silver-Production-2015

Chile’s silver production declined 4% in 2015, not the 2% increase stated by the USGS in its table above.

Finally we have Mexico.  The USGS data shows Mexico increasing production by a hefty 8%, an additional 400 mt compared to 2014.  However, Mexico’s Government INEGI website shows a decline, not an increase:

Mexico-Silver-Production-INEGI-Nov-2015

The data for Mexico is only up until Nov 2015.  I estimated production for December to be 500 mt.  That would put Mexico’s total silver production at 5,618 mt, down 2.6% from the 5,766 mt in 2014.  You will also notice that Mexico’s silver production was even higher in 2013 at 5,821 mt.

So, if we add up all these declines, we have the following:

Mexico = -148 mt

Canada = -114 mt

Chile = -69 mt

Total = -331 mt

Even with Peru up 334 mt, it puts these at a wash… zip.  Then if we add the decline from the United States, Bolivia, Australia and Poland, global silver production will likely be down 1-2%.   The USGS shows Australia only down 20 mt, but they are down a hell of a lot more than that.  Australia reported 1H 2015 silver production down 41%.  It jumped higher in Q3 2015, but I doubt it will make it up in the last quarter.  So, I estimate Australia to report a decline of at least 50-75 mt… maybe more.

Furthermore, KGHM Polska reported a decline in Q1-Q3 2015 silver production to 917 mt versus 932 mt during the same period last year.  Thus, total full-year silver production from KGHM Polska will likely decline in 2015.  KGHM Polska produces all the silver for Poland and it is the largest silver mining company in the world (as a by-product of copper mining).

The lesson to learn here is this… you need to go to the correct source to provide accurate information.  While Smaulgld publishes some excellent work, they also put out articles with faulty or inaccurate data and information.  We hope they spend a little more time doing the correct research, rather than put out information that is inaccurate.

If the FAN HITS THE COW EXCREMENT this year, 2014 may turn out to be the year, the world PEAKS IN SILVER PRODUCTION.  We will see.

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28 Comments on "ANALYST MISTAKEN: World Silver Production Did Not Rise In 2015, It Declined"

  1. Steve, thank you for doing the proper due diligence.
    Inaccurate information is worse than no information.

    Note to Smaulgld:
    A proper constructive criticism.
    DO NOT take government info at face value.

    • Outlookingin,

      Agreed. However, I would like to clarify the statement “DO NOT take government info at face value.” This is true when the folks at the government institution are providing ESTIMATES. As I provided the data from the four government sources, this is accurate information. Sure, we could see some revisions.. but not by much.

      For example, the USGS data for Canada of 500 mt of silver production in 2015 is grossly overstated. It turned out to be 379 mt

      steve

      • Steve, most initial governmental data is suspect because of later revisions and “adjustments” as the data base is expanded. It would be prudent to keep this in mind when issuing articles, as in Smaulgld’s inaccurate silver piece.
        It does not matter which countries or governments are involved. It has now been shown from multiple sources that the “powers that should not be” adjust, manipulate, massage, and generally ‘f’iddle’ the numbers to meet their targets.

  2. I discovered this week that my lcs has a markup of 17 % + for all junk silver . It’s been steadily growing for the last year. Thing’s should start to get very interesting in the physical vs paper world. Pure entertainment for those holding vs those who do not.

  3. Thanks for your serious research, Steve.

    How about China, Russia and Poland?

    • STWSL,

      I wrote about Poland at the end of the article. KGHM Polska Miedz is a Polish Copper producer. They produce all the silver as a by-product of Copper. As I stated in the article, their Q1-Q3 2015 results so far is a decline from 932 mt last year to 917 mt in 2015. I would imagine this trend will continue.

      China is very hard to determine as there are very few public records. However, their Zinc & Lead production was hit hard towards the end of the year due to lower prices. Most of China’s silver production is by-product of Zinc and Lead. So, China is probably going to show a decline in silver production in 2015.

      Russia maybe slightly higher in silver production.

      steve

  4. 570 divided by 27 is about 21.

    Is my math right? Do we only have 21-22 years of silver left in the context of current known reserves and production?

    • Armin,

      Yes, you are correct if we are going by PAPER SILVER RESERVES. However, it takes a lot of energy to extract that silver. Most of the World Silver Reserves are in Base Metal Mine Reserves…. by-product silver from Copper, Zinc & Lead.

      I believe a large percentage of those PAPER SILVER RESERVES will never be extracted due to PEAK OIL.

      steve

      • Wow. We better find a substitute, especially considering there isn’t much above-ground silver either, possibly less than gold.

        Looks like Silver depletion may be a more pressing issue than oil depletion and as you mentioned the 2 are related anyhow.

        I’ll keep stacking.

        • lastmanstanding | February 21, 2016 at 8:26 am | Reply

          Armin. FWIW, no substitute for silver will be found. Silver is an element that was lucky enough to be found within the earths crust and amazingly enough been used for technological advancement…some good, most bad.

          The bad is it’s use in the death paradigm, mic, whatever you’d like to call it. Silver was shown respect once upon a time as a highly respected unit of extreme value. Now, disrespect and wasted.

          Continued abuse of highly prized items provided by the earth is about to end. When I look at how much of truly valued earth items provided have been used far into the future for the instant gratification of today…it sincerely bothers me.

          I have been one of them and am doing whatever I can to rectify my past deeds. This in hopes of righting this wrong for those who understand and want a future…our kids and grandkids in particular.

          Our water, soil, animals, plants, etc. are far more valuable than humans who continue to act as if they are the key and only thing on the planet that matter.

          10’s of millions in the US alone offer less than nothing to humanity and the earth itself.

          They are about to see how the planet works. I really feel that many of us were placed here to help others, “get to the other side.”

          Personally, I like to see one day there.

  5. The USGS world silver reserve data seems to be overstated. At the end of 2015, they put world silver reserves at 570,000 metric tons. At the end of 2014 world reserves were estimated to be 530,000 metric tons. So in one year, they are claiming that even after mining 27,000 metric tons, silver reserves still increased by 40,000 metric tons. That would equal 2.15 billion ounces discovered in 2015 to replace what was mined and still have an increase of 40,000 metric tons( 1.29 billion ounces ) in reserves.

    It would be nice to have solid data to show what reserves really are and how much of those reserves will ever see the light of day.

    • Keith,

      There have been some announced silver finds since 2014. That may or may not affect their figures.I don’t know the methodology they use in their estimates.

      Anyway these are estimates; not like one can access the total remaining and weigh it. Inexact science in other words. Still better than some lunatic claiming the earth is actively creating or manifesting silver out of other elements or air or ether.

  6. What does not make sense is this: according to these numbers the silver production is roughly 10x the gold production annually, yet the price differential is about 80x. If there is real price discovery, it should at least go back to the historical15-20x spread it seems to me. Don’t you think?

    • If silver is scarcer than gold (1 to 5) and essential to civilisation then it would go from 80 to 1 ending at 1 to 5.
      400 times current. $6k usd per oz
      In my dreams. lol

      • Silver is MORE COMMON than gold in ore, by ~10x. Pricing should reflect this by either floating market with gold 7-20x more valuable per oz or fixed by the sovereign at ~15 x in coin.

        1/80 price of gold is insane. Back up the truck for the silver phiz. Gold is cheap too, but not that cheap. If miners can’t make money mining metal, they will stop. When they stop, it will be expensive and time-consuming to re-open mines. Prices may go nuts before production restarts.
        Oh, and peak Diesel.

    • That makes sense, however there isn’t real price discovery in place. There hasn’t been for over a hundred years by some people’s investigation.

    • Saxon,

      The reason for the 70/1+ Gold and Silver ratio is not due to the ratio of gold and silver extracted out of the ground, rather it is based on the cost of production.

      These are the basic break-even prices for gold and silver:

      Gold = $1,100
      Silver = $15-$16

      The Gold-Silver cost ratio is about 70/1. This isn’t a hard-fast rule, but there you have it. Investors need to realize that when the ancient Romans were pulling gold and silver out of the ground, they were using mostly human and animal labor. Thus, the value of gold and silver during these times was about the ratio of it being extracted out of the ground.

      More recently, coal and then oil came in the picture and this totally destroyed the Gold-Silver ratio because there are thousands of energy slaves in each barrel of oil. However, the falling EROI of oil is now putting severe stress on the fiat monetary system which will force the ratio to go lower once again.

      steve

      • Johny Comelately | February 21, 2016 at 10:20 am | Reply

        There are several metals rarer than gold and silver, like rhodium, ruthenium and Tellurium. All these metals are priced below the price of gold.

        Just because silver is mined out of the ground at a 10/1 ratio relative to gold, does not mean we should expect a 10/1 price ratio. Obviously production costs and physical demand play a role in price. I would like to know how much of a role and if there’s a an anomaly in the gold and silver pricing mechanism relative to other rare commodities?

  7. Gold and Silverstocks are currently on a 70-year low. If gold rises to $ 5000 some gold stocks will have a thousandfold. http://gebert-trade.weebly.com/1000-bagger-potential.html

  8. Great research Steve. This is the stuff we need to read. Now, let’s read what the Silver
    Institute is about to post? The Silver Institute is right on top of things? Too bad, they take
    3 to 6 months time to post the previous year. Their news is just too complacent indicating their
    lack of competency as an up to date resource.

  9. Great work Steve. Hopefully people will consider a small donation to
    continue this service that no one else provides!

  10. Steve, after looking at many of the 2015 silver production reports for many miners, (more to follow) what I have seen is mostly an about equal to or slightly more silver product in 2015 than in 2014. Take Fresnillo for example in 2014 they produce 44 moz of silver and in 2015 they ramped production up to 47 moz silver. I believe Fresnillo is the largest silver producer, globally. We will soon find out what all the true numbers will be but I am betting 2014 and 2015 will be close in total silver produced. So with the global economy slowing I believe that this could be one reason why the silver short sellers have be so emboldened.

  11. If what your articles state is true regarding silver production, silver production costs and silver
    demand by consumers, then these CEOs of these mines are inept. Rather than sell their
    mined silver below production costs, why don’t they sell half their production and stack the other
    half. They can borrow money or sell stock. Borrowing around 7% will do nicely. Then, if what
    you print is true, silver will easily rise 20% or more during 2016. They can then sell their reserves,
    pay off their loans and make money instead of selling their production for a loss. The answer here
    surely isn’t obvious because no one wants to hear it. These miners are surely much more knowledgeable about silver production and demand than me. So, what they are saying is silver
    “ain’t” going up for a long, long time. That is the reason they sell at a loss and try to reduce costs.
    Once diesel via oil rises as oil heads to $60, these miners would fail. And that Steve takes years
    to be fulfilled. It’s like predicting the USA failure in their currency. It will take 25 to 50 years to
    happen. The USA truly is too big to fail, more especially when every other country in the world is
    in worse shape than us. As other countries fail the “rich” will put their money in the USA stock and
    real estate products, not in silver and gold which they don’t see as money.

  12. Hey Joe L. please share whatever you are smoking!

    “The USA truly is too big to fail, more especially when every other country in the world is
    in worse shape than us. As other countries fail the “rich” will put their money in the USA stock and
    real estate products, not in silver and gold which they don’t see as money”

    This is utter nonsense. We admit to +19 TRILLION in debt, not counting unfunded liabilities of off balance sheet nefarious give away. Most likely all totaling almost $300 TRILLION. That makes the Greeks look good. The rest of the world is tired of the “FREE RIDE” we assume as our birthright in how we abuse the reserve currency with unbridled printing, the rigging of markets to preserve our hegemony, and our trade deficits of 1/2 to another Trillion a year paid for with unbacked paper. As for all those rich people with no metal….don’t kid yourself. I know several high net worth families (over 25 million) let me tell you the all have gold and silver and at more than 10%. I don’t know whom is pumping you full of bullshit but you need to find some better sources of knowledge. You sound like a FOOL!

    • If you are correct and the USA fails we will have a Ferguson in ever town in the
      USA. All business go bankrupt. What then do you do with your silver stash?
      We may have a massive devaluation over the next 10 years or so but the USA
      will not fail. Mexico, Greece, Italy, Venezuela all went through currency devaluation. I may sound like a fool but your preaching is truly foolishness!

  13. i just see a nice future for the silver holder …in 10 years
    Why ? look how much silver wwho wont be minied anymore from…Mexico….Chona…Other countries…then Canada…everybody is wishing these country to mine less…me i wish them to increase their production,so faster the price will increase when they wont have anymore underground

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