Humans have been using silver for thousands of years. Several kingdoms and countries in the past have used it as currency. It’s still considered a precious metal and a store of value. The white metal is widely used in various industries such as medical instruments, solar technology, electronics, automobile, water purification, and photography. It’s also used to make silverware, jewelry, and other decorative items. Here we take a look at the top 10 largest silver producers in the world.
Even more-so than gold, silver finds value in industries because of its ability to reflect light and resist the corrosive effects of oxygen. It’s also the metal with the highest thermal and electrical conductivity. In nature, silver is found in combined form with copper, zinc, and lead. The white metal constitutes less than 0.1% of the ore containing silver.
According to the Silver Institute’s latest World Silver Survey 2019, 855.7 million ounces of silver was mined worldwide in 2018. The top 10 largest producers mined 284.3 million ounces. Global silver production fell 2% in 2018, recording the third consecutive year of decline. India remains the largest consumer and importer of silver, accounting for 21% of the worldwide silver demand.
Ranked: Ten largest silver producers
These are the largest silver producers in the world, according to the Silver Institute’s World Silver Survey 2019 report.
10- Southern Copper Corporation, 17.3 million ounces (Moz)
Southern Copper is a subsidiary of Grupo Mexico. It produced 17.3 million ounces of silver in 2018, up from 15.9 million ounces in 2017. Besides silver, it’s also among the world’s largest producers of copper, zinc, and molybdenum. The company has mines and smelters in Mexico and Peru.
9- Hindustan Zinc Ltd, 19.6 Moz
India’s Hindustan Zinc is the the world’s 9th largest producer of silver and 2nd largest miner of zinc. It’s a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources. Hindustan Zinc has its mining and smelting operations mainly in India. The company aims to increase its silver production from 19.6 million ounces in 2018 to 32 million ounces by 2021 and 48 million ounces by 2025.
8- Hochschild Mining Plc, 19.7 Moz
Hochschild Mining is headquartered in Lima, though it also has a corporate office in London. It operates silver and gold mines in Peru and Argentina. Its mine in Pallancata, Peru produced a staggering 7 million ounces of silver in 2018, accounting for more than a third of the company’s total production of 19.7 million ounces.
7- Goldcorp Inc, 24.5 Moz
Vancouver-based Goldcorp produced 24.5 million ounces of silver in 2018, down from 28.6 million ounces in 2017. It operates four mines in Canada, two in Mexico, and another four in Central and South America. In 2019, the US-based Newmont Mining Corporation acquired Goldcorp. The merged entity was subsequently named Newmont Goldcorp Corporation and later Newmont Corp.
6- Pan American Silver Corp., 24.8 Moz
Headquartered in Vancouver, Pan American Silver Corporation owns the La Colorada mine in Mexico. La Colorada is among the world’s largest silver mines. It also has mines in Canada, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. The company has an estimated 280 million ounces of proven and probable silver reserves. Though it focuses primarily on silver, the company also mines gold, zinc, lead, and copper.
5- Polymetal International Plc, 25.3 Moz
Listed on both Moscow Exchange and London Stock Exchange, Polymetal International is a Russian mining giant. According to the Silver Institute, it extracted 25.3 million ounces of silver in 2018, down from 26.8 Moz in 2017. Polymetal owns gold and silver mines in six regions of Russia. Its Dukat mine is the world second largest silver mine with 16.5 million ounces of silver output in 2018.
4- Cia. de Minas Buenaventura, 26.2 Moz
The Peruvian mining giant extracted 26.2 million ounces of silver in 2018. Its Uchucchacua mine in Peru alone produced 15.4 million ounces of silver. It has another two silver mines – Julcani and Yumpaq – in Peru. Buenaventura also produces gold, zinc, copper, and lead.
3- KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. Group, 33.9 Moz
Poland-based KGHM is a leading producer of copper, silver, gold, lead, molybdenum, and other metals. It has mining operations in Poland, Chile, Canada, and the United States. KGHM also has four mining projects currently under development. The company is listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. It produced 33.9 million ounces of silver in 2018, which is lower than 36.5 million ounces in 2017.
2- Glencore Plc, 34.9 Moz
Glencore is a British-Swiss mining and commodity trading firm. It owns and operates dozens of mines across the globe. Glencore produces and sells precious metals, minerals, crude oil, coal, and natural gas, and other products worldwide. Even though its silver output declined from 37.7 million ounces in 2017 to 34.9 million ounces in 2018, it remains the world’s second largest silver producer. The company has more than 150,000 employees worldwide.
1- Fresnillo Plc, 58.1 Moz
Mexico-based Fresnillo retains the title of the world’s largest silver producer. The company increased its output from 54.2 million ounces in 2017 to 58.1 million ounces in 2018. The London Stock Exchange-listed company operates three gold and silver mines in Mexico. Fresnillo’s Saucito mine alone produced 19.9 million ounces of silver in 2018, more than any other mine on the planet.
Largest silver producing countries
If you landed here hoping for a list of countries producing the most silver, you won’t be disappointed. Latin American nations dominate the ranking. Though no Chinese company could make it to the above list of ten largest silver producers, China ranks third in terms of silver output.
These countries produced the most silver in 2018, according to the same report.
- Mexico, 196.6 million ounces (Moz)
- Peru, 144.9 Moz
- China, 114.9 Moz
- Russia, 43.4 Moz
- Chile, 42.1 Moz
- Bolivia, 39.9 Moz
- Poland, 39.6 Moz
- Australia, 35.4 Moz
- United States, 28 Moz
- Argentina, 26.5 Moz