by David Smith
70% of silver supply comes as a “by-product” of base metals, e.g., lead, zinc, copper, and (some) gold. With the race to find, develop and market new copper projects, one might assume that “since new copper supply will come online during the next few years, it also means that a ‘lot of silver’ will also become available.”
But these assumptions – on both counts – are almost certain to be incorrect. Here’s why…
Copper production streams for the rest of the decade will be constrained by several core, difficult to resolve considerations. First, most projects have been mined for decades; some for over a century. Grades and reserves have declined, while production costs have surged.
Another set of factors, substantially more problematic, hold the potential to pronounce life or death verdicts on many of the few current exploration-to-production stories.