Silver is a chemical element with atomic number 47 and symbol Ag. It is white, soft, mallable and ductile metal slightly harder than gold.
Silver is extremely flexible, this means that it can be converted into both flat sheets and electrical wire. This makes silver is an ideal metal for all kinds of industrial use.
Silver occurs in lead, Zinc and copper ore deposits. Lead ore is the main source of Silver. In fact, 75% of the resources in the world are found in association with other metal ores. The most important mineral is argentite, Sulphur Sulphide.
Secondary sources are price sensitive. Secondary silver sources include coin melt, scrap recovery, and dis-hoarding from countries where export is restricted.
Significant world silver producing countries are the US, Mexico, Peru, Chile, and Canada. In the US, Nevada is leads in silver producing. There it occurs as a by-product of gold mining.
Demand and Supply
In 2014, total physical demand of silver was 1.07 billion ounces (Moz) which was highest level recorded since 1990, but a 4% decline from the 2013 total. The main factor of decreasing in physical demands was a fall in coin and bar demand from 2013.
In world, silver jewelry fabrication had a second consecutive growth increasing 1.5 percent to achieve a new record. Gains were also noted in Europe, up 9.3 percent, and North America, up 2.2 percent.
The lowest volume level of silver scrap supply was down 13 percent at 168.8 Moz since 1996 and the third consecutive year of decline.
Government sales of silver were essentially nonexistent last year. As a proportion of total silver supply, scrap remained just above 15 percent, down from 25 percent in 2011 and 2012.
Silver production grew by 5.0 percent to 877.5 Moz. This growth was the stronger output from the primary silver and copper sectors.
Primary silver mine cash costs dropped 16 percent to US$7.74 an ounce, while the producer silver hedge book grew by 15.8 Moz in 2014.
Mexico was the world’s leading silver producer, followed by Peru, China, Australia and Chile.