The list of the 2013 top producing silver companies has been released by the Silver Institute. Representing several countries and many mineral focuses, the list spans from companies that primarily produce silver as a byproduct to dedicated silver miners. Major hotspots of activity, like Central America and South America, become obvious from a glance at the data the Silver Institute provides. Below is a closer look at each top company for 2013, and a bit about their flagship mines and forecasts for the year to come.
In 2013, Fresnillo produced 38.8 million ounces of silver in 2013, which represents a 4.3 percent increase year-over-year, according to the company’s preliminary 2013 report. For 2014, the company expects to produce some 42 million ounces of silver. The Mexico-based Fresnillo has the largest precious metals land reserve in that country, with six mines and two development projects.
Taking the second spot on the list is mining giant, BHP Billiton who produced 37.6 million ounces of silver in 2013. For BHP, Silver falls under the company’s copper business, headquartered in Santiago, Chile. Its Cannington Mine in Queensland, Australia, is one of the biggest silver production sites in the world, according to the company’s 2013 annual report. Silver production also takes place at Escondida, Chile, Antamina, Peru, and Pinto Valley, United States mines.
KGHM Polska Miedz (WSE:KGH)
Last year, KGHM Polska Miedz produced 37.3 million ounces of silver, which is a slight decrease from 2012 levels, according to the company’s 2013 report. Partly responsible for the decline in production was the decline in the price of silver, which dropped from year to year. KGHM Polska Miedz operates projects at on deposit in the Fore-Sudetic Monocline in Poland. Its mines are the Lubin, Rudna and Polkowice-Sieroszowice projects, each of which produces polymetallic ore that includes copper, silver, nickel, cobalt and molybdenum.
Glencore Xstrata (LSE:GLEN)
Glencore Xstrata is one of the largest resource companies in the world. In 2013, the company produced 37.1 million ounces of silver, taking into account the recent merger that created the company Glencore Xstrata and the production of all its subsidiaries. The company’s production rose from 2012, according to its annual report for 2013. The company, like many other top producers, gets its silver from copper projects around the world, including projects in Africa, South America and Australia. Its top producing mine for silver in 2013 was the Antamina project.
Investors may recognize the next entry from the recent top gold producer list, but sure enough, Goldcorp also produces silver. Last year the company produced 30.3 million ounces of silver in 2013 which is a bit of a drop in production from 2012. Goldcorp’s silver producing projects include the Penasquito mine in Mexico, which is the country’s largest. Other silver projects include the Marlin gold-silver mine and the Pueblo Viejo gold-silver-copper mine, both in Guatemala. The company does not disclose its forecasted silver production in its report, but predicts an increase in gold production, which may indicate an anticipated jump from the other precious metal as well.
Polymetal International (LSE:POLY)
Polymetal International produced 27.2 million ounces of silver in 2013. The company operates Dukat, Russia’s largest silver mine, where silver production increased 15 percent in 2013. Dukat is the third largest silver deposit in the world, according to Polymetal International’s 2013 report. The company operates in Russia and Kazakhstan, concentrating on the production of precious metals in that area.
Pan American Silver Corp (TSX:PAA)
Pan American Silver Corp produced 26 million ounces of silver in 2013. This represents a 4 percent year-over-year increase in production, according to the company’s annual report. Pan American Silver Corp forecasts between 25.75 and 26.75 million ounces of silver production in 2014. The company has projects in the US, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. Its top producing silver mine is Alamo Dorado in Mexico.
Volcan Cia. Minera (BME:XVOLB)
Volcan Cia. Minera produced 20.7 million ounces of silver in 2013. Its mines and concentrator and processing facilities are all located in Peru, and divided into three working units: UEA Chungar, which has the underground mines Aminon and Islay; UEA Cerro de Pasco with the Paragsha underground and Raul Rojas open pit mines; and UEA Yauli, which has four underground mines and three concentrator plants. Many of its projects in production or exploration will yield more silver for the company in years to come, according to the company’s website.
Cia. de Minas Buenaventura (NYSE:BVN)
Cia. de Minas Buenaventura produced 18.9 million ounces of silver in 2013. The company, also based in Peru, operates several mines in the country. Between its eight underground mines, Cia. de Minas Buenaventura produced gold, silver, lead and copper in 2013. Its top producing silver mine for the year was Uchucchacua, according to the company’s annual report. Silver production dropped in 2013 along with silver sales and the metal’s price, the report stated.
Coeur Mining produced 17 million ounces of gold in 2013. The company produces from the Palmarejo silver-gold mine in Mexico, the San Bartolome silver mine in Bolivia and the Rochester silver-gold mine in Nevada. In addition, Coeur has a portfolio of royalties and investment positions with other precious metals producers. The company’s silver reserves grew16 percent in 2013, according to its annual report. Palmarejo is the largest silver producing mine the company owns.