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Spotlight

The Silver Institute

Mon, 10/21/2013 - 11:31

The value and merits of silver, both as an investment tool and as a commodity, are widely acknowledged. From 2003 to July 2013 the price of silver increased by more than 300%, and despite the recent drops in precious metal prices silver retains its status. The Silver Institute plays an important role in this area; established in 1971, the Institute’s broad objective is to promote silver and silver market development by presenting research, fostering communication, and improving understanding of both the supply and demand for silver globally. For Michael DiRienzo, The Silver Institute’s Executive Director, the qualities and applications of silver are so diverse that the precious metal cannot fail to retain its importance in our lives. “Today, no metal is as indispensable to modern life as silver. It is beautiful, durable, malleable, and valuable. It withstands extreme temperatures, and is an excellent reflector of light and conductor of heat and electricity. It is also a better conductor of electricity than copper, and a natural antimicrobial agent,” he says.

In recent years, the Silver Institute worked with a major bank as an advisor on the creation and launch of the iShares Silver Trust (SLV), a very successful exchange traded fund. “We have also created the Silver Promotion Service (SPS), which is designed to raise awareness about the fine work in sterling silver jewelry. That program also has a Mexican component, where prominent Mexican designers are showcased on the web site,” explains DiRienzo.

The Silver Institute has conducted extensive research on supply and demand for silver, and holds a positive view of what the future will look like for the precious metal. This is not surprising, when one considers that the global supply of silver has increased consistently, year on year, for the past decade. The main source of world silver is the mining industry, though the majority of that does not come from primary silver mining. “Silver is a byproduct of other mining activities. In recent years only about 30% or so of newly mined silver has typically come from primary silver mines, with the vast majority being a by product of lead, zinc, gold, and copper operations. Silver is also recycled, especially from industrial catalysis processes, and comes from other sources such as scrap melt,” explains DiRienzo.

As the world’s biggest silver producer Mexico has an important role to play in The Silver Institute; indeed, many of the most prominent companies in Mexico’s silver mining industry appear in The Silver Institute’s members list. “Mexico has a long tradition of silver mining, and its importance to the global silver marketplace is unquestioned. Mexico is and will always be a leader in terms of silver mining - I think that will be the case for centuries to come,” says DiRienzo.