Yes, it’s true. The largest silver-producing countries in the world have the lowest reserve life remaining. And, when I say… LOW, it isn’t decades’ worth of silver reserves; rather, it’s a matter of years. This may sound quite unbelievable, but that is exactly what we find when we look at the data.
The chart below shows a breakdown of the top nine silver-producing countries globally. The top three are Mexico (178 Moz), followed by Peru (110 Moz) and China (109 Moz). Both Mexico and Peru will likely see a rebound in silver production in 2021 as they recover from the pandemic shutdowns in 2020.
These nine countries produce over 80% of the global silver mine supply. Now, if we look at the chart below from the USGS, it shows the remaining silver reserves for these countries.
The USGS reports its data in metric tons and rounds off the figures. For example, Mexico’s 178 Moz is 5,535 metric tons (mt). So, it’s close enough. If we divide the current 2020 production for each country by its Silver Reserves, we end up with a “Reserve Life” remaining based on the current annual output.
As we can see, Mexico, the world’s largest silver producer has the lowest Reserve Life remaining at only seven years at the current production level. Third-ranked China only has 13 years of silver reserves remaining.
Interestingly, Australia has the longest Reserve Life remaining at 68 years followed by Poland at 54 years. So, according to the USGS silver reserves, Mexico will run out in seven years while China will do so in 13 years. Of course, these countries could add more reserves, but I highly doubt it when we include the coming ENERGY CLIFF and how that will impact the mining industry.
So, with two of the largest silver producers in the world showing the least amount of Reserve Life remaining, this is just another reason to own physical silver metal.
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when you talk about silver reserves, is it already in production? Or are these just reserves in the earth’s crust in each country?
Your analyzes are really professional and logical.
Thanks for all the information.
Have a nice day.
In the ground
It’s found reservs in the ground. I’m sure countries like Mexico can find more if they just search. But at current price I guess it’s not worth looking for more.
Reserves states by the USGS are reserves that are essentially proven at each site. Not the silver in the earths crust. The reserves change every year based on discoveries and new drilling at existing mines. These numbers are absolutely 1000% not the silver left in the ground globally. Only the silver that has been estimated by mining companies to be there. Super disappointed and I mean SUPER disappointed in Steve implying silver mining is done when countries deplete the known reserves. If that was the case then when we looked at 1990 reserves from USGS we would have been out 20 years ago.
Not a good representation of what is going on at all.
Well…(I think) Steve’s comment assumed diminishing surplus energy, sufficient to dig up humongous said reserves…
If energy goes tight, then silver will stay in the ground. So maybe Mexico really does only have 7 years at current production levels…
In theory, Icarus could have flown much closer to the sun and stay alive than he did…except that his wings melted (the limiting factor in the Icarus story)… All things have physical limitations…
I rely on you for cogent, thoughtful information and appreciate the effort you put into your articles.
Perhaps you’re right with your calculations and comment Tony…would be good to see your calculations about how much silver can be extracted out of the ground globally, before physical limitations start to kick in.
Fertilizer is currently not being made in some parts of Europe, because of current physical and economic limitations.