Scrap Monster
Specials February 21, 2011 07:32:17 AM

Silver recycling can happen only at prices above $50

Paul Ploumis
ScrapMonster Author
Silver production is unable to meet with demand and some experts have predicted that world will run out of silver by 2020. Silver scrap recycling will be viable only at prices above $50 per ounce

Silver recycling can happen only at prices above $50

MUMBAI (Scrap Monster): Silver supply could increase only if more recycling takes place as in gold, but for recycling to become monetarily feasible, the price of silver should touch the historical high of $50 according to analysis by Chandni Burman in Daily News and Analysis (DNA).

The supply of silver scrap which was at 180.7 mn ounces in 2000 rose to 188 mn ounces in 2006 but thereafter declined to 165.7 mn ounces in 2009, according to The Silver Institute- GFMS survey.

Silver mine production rose by 4 percent to 709.6 Moz in 2009. Gains came both from primary silver mines and as a by-product of gold mining. Regionally, the strongest growth stemmed from Latin America, where silver output increased by 8 percent, with the most visible gains recorded in Argentina and Bolivia. Peru was the world's largest silver producing country in 2009, followed by Mexico, China, Australia and Bolivia.

All of these countries saw increases last year except for Australia, where output from the lead/zinc sector declined markedly. Global primary silver supply recorded a 7 percent increase to account for 30 percent of total mine production in 2009, according to The Silver Institute.

Meanwhile silver production is not being ramped up sufficiently to meet demand and some analysts opine that the world will run out of silver by 2020. "Silver is largely used as an industrial metal. It is a very good conductor of electricity, the best heat transfer agent and reflector of light, a very good lubricant, catalyst and alloy. But it is used in very small amounts as an industrial metal. Given this, it is not easy to recycle silver," the DNA report said.

Also, at its current price, it is not monetarily feasible to recycle silver. Experts are of the view recycling will become monetarily feasible only once the price of silver crosses around $50 per ounce (currently it quotes at around $32-33 per ounce). Given these reasons, increasing sale of silver scrap is not very easy, the DNA report added.

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