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A couple of interesting* charts on silver

As part of a report I’m preparing in the non-blog real world, today I’ve been looking at the state of play in the silver industry. The research pointed me to quite a few datasets and here are two of them in graphic form. Click on either chart to enlarge of necessary.
First, this chart shows the total world silver production in the years 1900 to date. The source is the ultra-reliable United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the figures show production in Metric Tonnes.


Interesting to note the big recent surge in silver production. This differs from gold production that peaked somewhere between 1999 and 2001 (depending on which source you believe). I’m not a fan of straight supply and demand metrics to explain gold (and silver I suppose) price fluctuations, but it has set me thinking and I’ve mentally bookmarked the subject today as “in need of a revisit”.

Next this chart that shows the fractured nature of world silver production. Here we have the 20 largest producers of silver in 2007. Source is the World Silver Institute 2008 Silver Survey (published May this year).

Note that the largest players, BHP and Peñoles, only manage 7% each. Also note that the top 20 between them produce only slightly over half the world’s silver. Finally, check out the names and note just how many of the companies produce silver as a by-product and not as the primary (or even secondary) target metal.
This post is a bit of a non-sequiter as there’s no real reason behind blogging on it; I just thought I’d share. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

*interesting for wonks like me, anyway

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