A precious and industrial metal with key properties for semi-conductors and solar panels.

Silver (atomic symbol Ag) is a malleable and ductile metal, with excellent conductivity. As such it is extensively used in electronic components such as wires, switches and printed circuit boards: but also in micro-electronics devices. Silver is the best heat conductor of all metals. Its uses in solar panels and automobile rear window defoggers take advantage of this quality.

Silver has also a unique property as destroying the ability of the microbe to reproduce by penetrating bacteria cell walls without harming mammalian cells. An anti-bacteria role!

Silver is also considered as an investment and storehouse of wealth. Sterling silver contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. 14 karat gold consists of 53% gold, 25% silver and 22% copper

The atomic weight of silver is 107.870, and its atomic number is 47. Silver melts at a temperature of 1761 degrees F. or 960 degrees C. .

Silver Figures

Silver demand is mainly controlled by industrial applications (59% of global demand 2017) such as electronics (semi-conductors, photovoltaic, brazing alloy and solders). Jewellery and silverware account for 26% of global demand (2017), whereas coins and bars account for 15% of global demand.

Among the industrial applications, there are: solar technology, electronics, catalysts, brazing and solders, medicine, water purification, automobile and photography.


In 2017, a 4.1% decline in production was recorded, attributed to supply disruptions in Guatemala, with Tahoe Resources ( Escobal mining licence suspended) , and in the U.S., with Hecla Mining (strike at Lucky Friday mine). Australia and Argentina also showed considerable declines.

Silver metal is primarily produced as a secondary by-product of electrolytic refining of copper, lead, and zinc

Primary silver represent 28% of total mine supply in 2017 (9% decline vs 2016). Secondary silver from by product: Lead/Zinc mines 36%: Copper mines 23% and gold mines 12%

Mexico, Peru and China are the top three silver producing countries. Mexico production represent 23% of world mining production in 2017 .

Silver Substitution

Scrap 14% of total world supply.

Scrap volume has recorded in 2017 a sixth successive yearly decline due to a lack of incentives from both suppliers and consumers to recycle their valuables

Silver Ocurrence

The abundance of silver in the Earth's crust is 0.08 parts per million, almost exactly the same as that of mercury. It mostly occurs in sulfide ores, especially acanthite and argentite, Ag2S.

The principal sources of silver are the ores of copper, copper-nickel, lead, and lead-zinc.

South American countries represent 50% the top 10 producing countries due to the age of their metallogeny type.

Silver deposits include different types, such as submarine volcanism and continental volcanism related type, intrusion related type, and sedimentary related type.

Silver Links & Readings

Silver Institute: https://www.silverinstitute.org/

General information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver

Mineralogy: https://www.mindat.org/element/Silver

Further readings: A Review of Silver-Rich Mineral Deposits and Their Metallogeny; Frederick T. Graybeal Peter G. Vikre; Published January 01, 2010