Mexico is a world leader in silver production and has been the world’s top silver-producing country for seven consecutive years. A huge number of companies have Mexico silver mines, and many are also exploring for the metal in the country.
Unsurprisingly, the country has a long history of commercial silver mining. Silver mining in Mexico dates back about 500 years, though initially the country wasn’t the powerhouse it is today. Indeed, from the 1570s to the 1630s, mines in Peru overshadowed Mexican silver mines. By the 18th century, Mexico had gained the upper hand — silver accounted for over 70 percent of Mexico’s exports from the late 16th century until the 1870s.
In modern times, Mexico’s main exports have become vehicles, petroleum and machinery, but mining remains an important part of the country’s economy. As mentioned, Mexico is consistently a major silver producer, and at this point it seems unlikely that its prospects will change in the near future — last year, second-place Peru produced 4,100 MT of silver compared to Mexico’s 5,600 MT.
But which companies have Mexico silver mines or are exploring for silver in the country? The sheer number of companies in the space can be overwhelming, so below we’ve provided brief overviews of the main players in the industry and what they are up to today.
Mexico silver mines: Producing companies
Given its position as the world’s largest silver producer, it should be no surprise that Mexico is home to a vast number of silver mines. Many major miners have silver-producing mines in the country, though of course the country is home to smaller producers as well. The list of producers below is arranged in descending order of market cap.
It’s worth noting that most of the companies that mine silver, including the ones listed below, do not produce the white metal as a primary product. Silver is often mined as a by-product of gold, meaning that many of the Mexico silver mines listed below produce sizeable amounts of gold as well. Mexico is also a top gold-producing country, and the future of gold mining in the country looks bright.
- Fresnillo (LSE:FRES); market cap: GBP11.83 billion — Fresnillo is the top-producing silver company in the world. It has seven operating mines in Mexico, and its total attributable silver production came to 53 million ounces in 2016. The company is a subsidiary of Industrias Penoles (BMV:PE&OLES).
- Pan American Silver (TSX:PAAS,NASDAQ:PAAS); market cap: C$3.88 billion — Pan American Silver produced 25.4 million ounces of silver in 2016. The company has three gold- and silver-producing mines in Mexico, and one exploration-stage project. At the end of 2016, the company’s mineral reserves contained an estimated 286 million ounces of silver.
- First Majestic Silver (TSX:FR,NYSE:AG); market cap: C$2.09 billion — First Majestic Silver produced a record 11.9 million ounces of silver in 2016. The company has five Mexico silver mines, and also holds the Santa Elena gold-silver mine. The firm has another five silver exploration and development projects in Mexico.
- Coeur Mining (NYSE:CDE); market cap: US$1.81 billion — This US-based company produces silver and gold at its Palmarejo mine in Mexico. In 2016, the company produced a total of 14.8 million ounces of silver. As of the end of 2016, the company’s proven silver reserves at Palmarejo totaled about 7 million ounces compared to proven gold reserves of 126,000 ounces.
- Fortuna Silver Mines (TSX:FVI,NYSE:FSM); market cap: C$1 billion — Fortuna Silver Mines has one silver-producing mine in Mexico and another in Peru. The company’s San Jose mine in Oaxaca produced 6.1 million ounces of silver in 2016. Its proven and probable silver reserves currently stand at 40.2 million ounces.
- Endeavour Silver (TSE:EDR,NYSE:EXK); market cap: C$571.8 million — Endeavour Silver has three Mexico silver mines, two development projects and three exploration projects. The company produced 9.7 million silver equivalent ounces in 2016. As of the end of last year, its proven and probable silver reserves came to 10.6 million ounces.
- Great Panther Silver (TSX:GPR); market cap: C$305.55 million— Great Panther Silver has three producing Mexico silver mines, as well as two exploration projects in Mexico. Its flagship Guanajuato Mine Complex is owned by its Mexican subsidiary, Minera Mexicana El Rosario. The company’s total silver production came to 2.1 million ounces last year.
- Primero Mining (TSX:P NYSE:PPP); market cap: C$130.45 million — Primero Mining produces silver at its San Dimas mine in Mexico and is developing the Cerro de Gallo gold-silver-copper deposit in the country; it also holds a number of exploration projects. Primero has a silver purchase agreement with Wheaton Precious Metals (TSX:WPM,NYSE:WPM).
- Avino Silver & Gold Mines (TSXV:ASM); market cap: C$112.78 million — Avino Silver & Gold Mines operates two mines at its Avino property and it has four exploration-stage projects in the Durango region of Mexico. In 2016 it produced 2.7 million silver equivalent ounces.
- Excellon Resources (TSX:EXN); market cap: C$102.8 million — Excellon Resources has two operations in Mexico: its La Platosa underground silver-lead–zinc mine and its past-producing Miguel Auza mine, which has been turned into an operating flotation mill. La Platosa produced 752,689 ounces of silver in 2016. Excellon says La Platosa has been Mexico’s highest-grade silver mine since production began there in 2005.
- IMPACT Silver (TSXV:IPT); market cap: C$53.16 million — Impact Silver has two production centers on its 357-square-kilometer land package in Mexico: the Guadalupe Production Center and the Capire Production Center. The latter is currently on care and maintenance. In 2016, the company’s silver production was 952,768 ounces.
Mexico silver mines: Exploration and development companies
While Mexico is home to a huge number of companies that produce silver, many companies are moving forward at silver projects that are still in the exploration and development phases. These companies may eventually tap into the country’s vast silver riches, and may be worth considering.
The five companies below all have silver-focused projects in Mexico, and as of May 18, 2017 had market caps above C$20 million; they are listed in descending order of market cap. Read on to learn more about them and when they may bring Mexico silver mines into production.
- MAG Silver (TSX:MAG); market cap: C$1.4 billion — MAG Silver owns 44 percent of Mexican joint venture company Minera Juanicipio, whose focus is the Juanicipio property. Fresnillo owns the other 56-percent interest in Minera Juanicipio and is the project operator. Juanicipio is in the drilling phase of development. MAG Silver also holds the Cinco de Mayo property in Mexico.
- Kootenay Silver (TSXV:KTN); market cap: C$53.28 million — Kootenay Silver has three projects in Mexico: La Cigarra, Promontorio and La Negra. The company has an option agreement with Pan American Silver to advance La Negra and Promontorio, and is currently conducting drilling at La Cigarra.
- Southern Silver (TSXV:SSV); market cap: C$43.65 million — Southern Silver’s Cerro Las Minitas project is located in an area of Mexico known as the Faja De Plata, or Belt of Silver. The project has an estimated inferred resource of 17.5 million ounces of silver and and estimated indicated resource of 10.8 million ounces of silver, plus smaller amounts of lead and zinc.
- Defiance Silver (TSXV:DEF); market cap: C$33.84 million — Defiance Silver is exploring the San Acacio deposit located at the historic San Acacio mine in the Zacatecas Silver District.
- Silver Bull Resources (TSX:SVB); market cap: C$20.5 million — Silver Bull Resources is currently exploring the Sierra Mojada silver and zinc site in Mexico’s Coahuila State.
- Canasil Resources (TSXV:CLZ); market cap: C$20.47 million — Canasil Resources has a total of seven exploration projects located in Mexico’s Durango, Sinaloa and Zacatecas states. The firm’s Salamandra project is under option to MAG Silver.
Did we miss any Mexico silver mines or Mexico-focused silver companies that you think should be on this list? Please let us know in the comments! And don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates.
This is an updated version of an article first published by the Investing News Network in 2010.
Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Shaw, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: Kootenay Silver is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.