For a long time, quite little attention was paid to the precious metal silver. As “the little man’s gold”, silver was not overly interesting to many investors compared to other metallic commodities.
But in fact, silver has a very special role among precious metals, and experts see the white metal as a metal of the future.
Scarce supply and high demand in industry
As with all precious metals, the world’s silver supply is not inexhaustible. According to some studies, experts expect that the world’s silver reserves will only last for the next 30 years.
Recycling therefore already plays a major role in silver today, because silver is by no means just a precious metal that is hoarded by investors in a safe or safe deposit box, or processed into jewelry.
In fact, silver occupies a truly special role among precious metals, because more than half of the silver supply is needed in industry and does not end up with investors.
Demand will increase
Silver is already in high demand in many industries and this will increase in the future. The shimmering precious metal is urgently needed, for example, for the manufacture of many medical devices, solar cells, microchips and smartphones.
Digitization and the necessary energy transition will increase the demand for silver considerably in the future. According to calculations, the demand for silver for 5G technology alone will triple by 2030.
Due to the limited resources and in order to conserve them as much as possible, more and more silver is already being recycled today.
World silver deposits
The largest silver deposits are found on the American continent. Mexico and Peru are the most important countries in terms of mine production. But also in China, Russia, Poland, Chile, Australia and Bolivia more than 1000 tons of the white precious metal are mined annually.
Pure silver mines are rare
Similar to all precious metals, silver mining is only worthwhile where significant quantities of silver can be mined. Pure silver mines are therefore extremely rare worldwide. For example, only about a quarter of the total production volume comes from mines where only silver is mined.
However, two-thirds of the silver mined is extracted as a by-product during the mining of other metals. Silver ores are found predominantly in association with gold, but also copper, lead and zinc.
Similar to gold, silver must first be purified after mining before it can be used and processed industrially in the form of fine silver or come onto the market as an investment object in the form of bars or coins.
Various mechanical or chemical processes are used to turn the silver ore into so-called raw silver. The raw silver obtained in this way is finally refined using electrolytic processes to produce fine silver.