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Silver, Mexico's Top Mining Product, Crucial for 5G

By Alejandro Ehrenberg | Fri, 07/17/2020 - 09:14

The Silver Institute released a paper authored by the research firm Precious Metals Commodity Management (PMCM) arguing that the electronic components that enable 5G technology will rely strongly on silver to make the global 5G platform perform seamlessly.  

The paper explains that 5G is not just an incremental improvement over 4G but the next major evolution of mobile communication technology. It will massively improve download speeds and reduce latency. More importantly, it will facilitate significant technological progress in a whole range of sectors, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and autonomous driving.

PMCM goes on to explain that in a future 5G-connected world, silver will be a necessary component in almost all aspects of this technology, resulting in yet another end-use for silver in an already vast and versatile demand portfolio. At present, 5G deployment is still in its early stages and 5G-related silver demand currently constitutes approximately 7.5 million ounces (Moz). With the rollout of 5G in the coming years, however, silver’s role in the electronic applications used in 5G is forecast to rise significantly to approximately 16Moz by 2025 and as much as 23Moz by 2030, which would represent a 206 percent increase against today’s demand, notes PMCM.

The report discusses the differences between 5G and the previous generation of digital cellular networks. It also examines the five significant technologies that make up the core of 5G and the role silver will play in these. Finally, it looks at the hardware needs and supply chain requirements, given the massive amount of financial capital required in the development and expansion of 5G networks.

The paper concludes that 5G’s deployment will not just be another migration from one generation to the next. It will require significant upgrades on infrastructure and the introduction of other hardware, such as mobile phones and IoT devices. Millimeter waves, small cell networks, massive MIMO, beamforming and full duplex will be the five key 5G enabling technologies that will largely make up the 5G architecture.

PMCM adds that silver will benefit from this development. Everything 5G-related will be based on electronic devices, which to one degree or another consume various amounts of silver. Mexico is the world’s top silver producer and this will be one of the go-to metals for future 5G enabled electronic applications, the paper reports.  

 

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Alejandro Ehrenberg Alejandro Ehrenberg Journalist and Industry Analyst