By Scott Wright
Over the course of silver’s secular bull, the miners have steadily increased production in order to meet fast-growing demand. And in 2012 mine production exceeded 24k metric tons (770m+ ounces), an all-time production high and 28% increase over 2001. As an investor interested in silver’s structural fundamentals, this rapid growth begs a question. Where in the world is this silver coming from?
In our modern information age we can ask questions like this and easily find the answer. And we need look no farther than the data provided by the U.S. Geological Survey. The USGS is a global authority in collecting, analyzing, and disseminating information on both domestic and international mineral supply and demand. And for silver it dutifully provides annual detailed country-level mine production data.
My preferred way to distill data like this is visually, via crafting a custom chart to paint a clear picture. And in the chart below I plot the bull-to-date global silver-mining trends for the world’s top dozen silver producers using the USGS’s initial 2012 estimates that were released just this week.