Potential Silver Shortage at 2020 Olympics

- May 8th, 2018

Plans to use only recycled products to create medals for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo could be challenged by a potential silver shortage.

In an effort to use only recycled products to create medals for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, concerns over a silver shortage have now come to light. 

Since the Tokyo 2020 Medal project’s launch in April 2017, half the necessary bronze has been collected, but nearly twice as much silver is still needed. Insiders believe that if the situation remains unchanged, Olympic organizers will most likely face a silver shortage.

“Given the collection pace of bronze, we are significantly short of silver, which we need twice as much of as bronze,” an official of the organizing committee said.

Exasperating silver shortage concerns are the details behind how the medals are made.

According to the organizing committee, at least 5,000 medals will be created for both the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. These medals will be made by recycling small electronic devices such as old smartphones and personal computers.

While silver and bronze medals are made almost entirely from pure silver and bronze, under International Olympic Committee rules, a gold medal uses silver as its base material with at least six grams of pure gold plated onto it.

In total, 1,230 kilograms of the white metal are needed for the Olympics, while approximately only 736 kilograms of bronze and 10 kilograms of gold will be used.

With collection scheduled to end one year from now, the project has been spread nationwide and municipal governments with collection points have increased from 624 to 1,404 in March this year.

In an effort to curtail the deficit of silver, the organizing committee plans to install more collection points and accelerate the pace of collection by utilizing promotional activities in cooperation with universities and department stores.

“Just like the recycling of plastic bottles and empty cans, we aim to achieve a society where the separate collection of electronic devices is natural,” an official of the organizing committee said.

“To take advantage of the Tokyo Games to achieve this, we want to call for many people to cooperate with us,” the official added.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Nicole Rashotte, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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