The World’s Top 10 Silver Producers
In many countries, entire economies are built around the mining, development and minting of precious metals. Royal Bull has assembled this list of the top silver-producing countries in the world, based on their annual silver outputs. (Based on 2021 data.)
Knowing where silver comes from will help to give you a better idea of where your investment products originate from and why they rank where they do on this list.
The reigning champion of silver production is Mexico, where 2021 saw almost 200 million ounces of silver mined, representing 17% of the world’s total output. Many regions in the country have silver, with key mines located in Sonora and Zacatecas.
In 2021, China produced 112.9 million ounces of silver, which is far from #1 Mexico, but still an incredibly large amount of silver. From the mid-20th century to the end of the 20th century, the Chinese government controlled all silver output, and as late as 2007 new rules allowed exports and imports. In 2000, exports of silver were just over 10-million ounces, while seven years later the exports were over 10x as much!
The South American country has made huge investments in its silver-mining infrastructure, helping the country rise among the ranks to place third with 107.9 million ounces. Although political complications exist in this developing country, the pandemic restrictions, workers’ strikes and economic stresses have only put a small dent into its silver production. Watch this country continue to increase its production to access its large reserves.
A distant fourth-place finish is held by Australia. Well known for its coin and bar minting facilities, Australia also has vast silver mines amounting to an annual production of 43-million ounces. The large island mines much of its silver as a byproduct of lead-zinc and copper mining operations – its South32’s Cannington Mine is one of the largest producers of silver and lead in the world.
Producing just less than Australia, Poland is a smaller-sized country with large silver reserves and output. The Polish mining conglomerate KGHM is ranked as the world’s largest silver producing company and is the owner of the famed Polkowice-Sieroszowice mine, the second-largest silver mine in the world.
The South American nation produces over 42 million ounces of silver, with many silver mines scattered throughout the country, with much of the silver reserves still untapped. The country’s infamous Cerro Rico de Potosí mine “Rich Mountain” has been tapped for hundreds of years and has more than 600 mines and hundreds of kilometres of tunnels throughout. Historically, the mountain brought great wealth to Spain, but its unsafe operations have resulted in illness and accidents – the number of deaths is estimated to be a horrific 8,000,000.
With approximately the same amount of silver production as its neighbour Bolivia, Chile is known for its vast operating mines and silver reserves. The silver industry began in the mid-1800s when a mini “silver rush” lead to a flock of prospectors from around the world. Chile is the largest producer of copper in the world and produces silver as a byproduct of these operations.
Russia’s place in this “top 10” list varies depending on who you speak with, but knowing that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has had devastating economic consequences, expect that the country will be unable to export silver as it once did before, resulting in a great reduction in its production from its current 39-million-ounce output.
9. United States
With more than 32 million ounces mined In 2021, the U.S. states of Alaska and Nevada have helped the nation to stay on this top 10 list, for now. America has four dedicated silver mines and more than 30 other mines that produce silver as a byproduct of other operations like copper, zinc and lead.
Rounding out this top list is Argentina, with silver production exceeding 26 million ounces every year. The South American country has a penchant for silver (its name is Spanish meaning “silvery”) and mines a wide range of metals, including aluminum, lead, copper, zinc and lithium. Its status as a major world player in metal production will remain for hundreds of years to come, with extensive reserves still waiting to be mined in its hills.
Explore some of the many products available from the world’s leading silver producers on the Royal Bull online silver shopping page.