Silver investors are usually interested in finding out which countries produce the most of the metal.
After all, if a nation is producing a lot of silver, many companies are likely operating there — and investment opportunities may be available.
However, it’s also worth looking at silver reserves, or how much economically mineable silver a country holds.
In general, the world’s top silver producers also have high silver reserves, but some countries with high silver reserves are not putting out much of the metal. Where’s there’s room to grow there may be money to be made as well, and for that reason investors should be aware of which countries may eventually become powerhouses in the industry.
With that in mind, here’s an overview of silver reserves by country. All silver reserves by country data is based on the US Geological Survey’s most recent data on silver.
Silver reserves: 93,000 MT
At 93,000 MT, Peru holds the highest silver reserves by country in the world. And unlike some countries with high silver reserves, the nation was a major producer of silver in 2017. It put out 4,500 MT of the metal, coming in second place in the world.
The majority of Peru’s silver is produced at the Antamina mine, located in province of Huari. The mine is a joint venture between BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP,NYSE:BHP,LSE:BLT), Glencore (LSE:GLEN), Teck Resources (TSX:TECK.B,NYSE:TECK) and Mitsubishi (TSE:8058). Although it is primarily a copper mine, it still produces more silver than any other in the country.
Minerals account for about 60 percent of Peru’s total exports, and silver is considered a “flagship product“ with a rich history dating back to pre-Columbian times. Peru is also the world’s second-largest copper producer, the third-largest producer of zinc and tin and the fifth-largest producer of gold.
Silver reserves: 89,000 MT
Australia produces much less silver than Peru, but its reserves of the metal are nevertheless high. It put out only 1,200 MT of silver in 2017, and its reserves stand at 89,000 MT. As such, it appears there’s a long life still left for silver mining in the country.
Silver mining goes all the way back to the early 1900s in Australia. BHP Billiton began as a silver producer there in the 1920s, and today South32 (ASX:S32), an offshoot of BHP Billiton, operates the Cannington mine in the same region. The mine is the country’s largest producer of the metal.
Silver reserves: 89,000 MT
Poland’s silver reserves bumped up last year, coming in equal to Australia. Despite its reserves of 89,000 MT, Poland produced just 1,400 MT of silver in 2017. Much of that came from KGHM Polska Miedsz (WSE:KGH). The company is consistently one of the world’s top silver-producing companies.
Currently, around 75 percent of silver is obtained as a by-product of copper mining. KGHM’s mineable resources based on concessions currently held, including the new Deep Glogow deposit, are estimated at 1.1 billion tonnes of copper ore grading 2.08 percent copper and 58 grams per tonne silver.
More silver reserves by country
Peru, Australia and Poland have the highest silver reserves, but many other countries also hold significant silver reserves. Here’s a quick look at where other nations stand:
- Chile — 27,000 MT
- China — 39,000 MT
- Mexico — 37,000 MT
- US — 25,000 MT
- Bolivia — 22,000 MT
- Russia — 55,000 MT
Various other countries hold a total of 57,000 MT of silver reserves, according to the US Geological Survey. The total world reserves figure sits at 530,000 MT. Which silver reserves would you consider the most auspicious or worthy for investment? Let us know in the comments below.
This is an updated version of an article first published by the Investing News Network in 2015.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Amanda Kay, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.