The Silver Institute released its Silver Survey 2022, where Mexico ranked as the largest silver producer in the world for 2021. In addition, 2022’s global silver production is expected to grow steadily and reach pre-pandemic levels thanks to newly developing projects.
The organization foresees Mexico to be the main driver of growth. Since it produces nearly 25 percent of the global silver supply, the country is expected to produce over 212Moz in 2022. In 2021, production totaled 196.7Moz. “The biggest increase is expected to come in Mexico, driven by the ramp-up of new and recently commissioned projects, alongside rising production from several established mines,” the report stated.
Mexico‘s 2021 production represented a 9 percent increase compared to 2020. Other than the new projects, the 9 percent increase can be mainly attributed to the industry’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, during which several mining units were forced to temporarily close since they were not considered to be essential activities.
Mexico outperformed leading mining countries like China, producing 112.9Moz in 2021, Peru, with 107.9Moz and Australia, with 42.9Moz.
Fresnillo stood out as the major global silver-producing company, with a production of 50Moz in 2021, a decrease of over 0.6 percent compared to 2020 driven mainly by COVID-19’s effects and the outsourcing reform, which came into effect in Sep. 2021 and limited the ability of companies to hire subcontractors. The company was followed by the Polish company KGHM Polska Miedz, with a production of 43.9Moz, the Swiss Glencore with 31.5Moz, the US’ Newmont with 31.4Moz and the Chilean Codelco with 23.6Moz.
Industrial Peñoles ranked as the 11th-largest silver producing company in the world with a production of 14.5Moz, an 18 percent increase compared to 2020’s results. Both Fresnillo and Industrias Peñoles are directed by Alejandro Baillères.
According to the survey’s forecast, the North American region will be 2022’s main silver producing region, with an estimated of 258Moz. These figures will once again mainly be driven by Mexico, followed by Central and South America with 225.5Moz and Asia with 162.7Moz. The worst-performing regions will be Oceania, with 47.1Moz and Africa, with 18.3Moz.
The survey reported that most of the silver is produced as a byproduct from mines targeting other metals. Seventy-one percent of silver production came from lead-zinc, copper and gold mines in 2021, the survey noted.