Top 15+ Largest Silver Mines in the World by Production Today
Primary silver mines only account for about 30% of annual production, with the remaining 70% coming from lead/zinc operations and the remaining 20% coming from copper mines. More than two-thirds of the world’s silver resources come from polymetallic ore deposits from which silver is extracted.
According to GlobalData, Kitco, and other mining databases (Ranked and Recommended by KnowInsiders.com), the following are the 15+ largest silver mines by production across the world in 2023/2024.
About 42,3 million ounces of silver were extracted from the KGHM Polska Mied mine in Poland, making it the largest primary silver mine in the world.
Fresnillo plc, the world’s largest silver producer, had its Saucito mine in Mexico, which at the time was ranked eighth, produce 12 million ounces of silver.
KGHM has been a major player in the global silver industry for quite some time. Silver sales account for 16% of the company’s total income.
Pigs and pellets are two of KGHM’s most popular silver products. Pellets of the metal are shipped to businesses that use them, such as those that make jewelry or silver alloys. The majority of silver pigs are sold to banks.
The Gogów Smelter, where KGHM’s Precious Metals Division has been in operation since 1993, is where the company produces its silver. It was developed with the sole purpose of extracting the gold and silver from the copper ore. Anode sludge, also known as “black mud,” is produced during the electrorefining of copper and contains these elements. In order to create silver pellets and pigs weighing around 1,000 troy ounces or about 31.1 kilograms, silver cathode with a silver content of more than 99.99 percent is refined and refined again.
The primary copper mines in Poland at Rudna, Polkowice-Sieroszowice, and Lubin make up KGHM Polska Miedz’s mining hub. It is a significant source of silver, gold, and other metals in addition to copper. The biggest silver mine in the world, KGHM Polska Miedz, will produce 42.3 Moz of silver in 2022.
The two open pits, Peasco and Chile Colorado, in Newmont’s Penasquito polymetallic mine contain gold, silver, lead, and zinc. Processing by flotation and grinding is used in Penasquito. In 2022, the silver output at Penasquito decreased by 5% year over year to 29.7 Moz.
Orion Fund JV is the proprietor of the Mantos Blancos Mine in Santiago, Chile. In 2022, the surface mine is expected to produce 18.02 million ounces of silver. Till 2035, the mine will be in operation.
One of Polymetal’s first and original assets is the Dukat silver mine. It is Polymetal’s flagship operation and the country’s largest primary silver operation. Dukat’s silver production fell from 18.8 million ounces in 2021 to 18.3 million ounces in 2022, a 3% year-over-year decrease.
In Lower Silesian, Poland, there is an underground mine called the Rudna Mine. The brownfield mine, owned by KGHM Polska Miedz, is anticipated to produce 17.94 million ounces of silver in 2022. Till 2042, the mine will be in operation.
A sizable copper, zinc, molybdenum, silver, and lead mine called Antamina is situated in the Andes, 270 kilometers north of Lima, Peru.
The deposit is situated at a height of 4,200 meters on average. There are four major shareholders: Teck (22.5%), BHP Billiton plc (33.75%), and Glencore plc (10%). The mine operates as an open pit with trucks and shovels. Copper and zinc concentrates are transported to the port via a 302-kilometer slurry concentrate pipeline before being shipped to smelters and refineries around the world.
In 2022, the brownfield mine is expected to have produced 16.51 million ounces of silver. The mine is anticipated to close in 2036.
Mexico’s Sonora region is home to the underground Santa Elena Mine (Mexus Gold). The greenfield mine, which is owned by Mexus Gold, is anticipated to produce 14.91 million ounces of silver in 2022.
The centerpiece project for Fresnillo is the silver-gold mine San Julián in Mexico. It might be possible to create a new mining district in the future using the geological potential that has already been discovered in the area. An underground mine called the San Julian Project is located in Chihuahua, Mexico.
The San Julián mine has two processing facilities: a dynamic leaching plant for ore from veins, and a 6,000 tpd flotation plant for ore from the dispersed body.
The greenfield mine, which is owned by Industrias Penoles Sde CV, is anticipated to produce 14.85 million ounces of silver in 2022. Till 2030, the mine will be in operation.
The Polkowice-Sieroszowice Mine is a property of KGHM Polska Miedz and is situated in Lower Silesian, Poland. In 2022, the underground mine is anticipated to produce 14.31 million ounces of silver. Till 2057, the mine will be in operation.
In Zacatecas, Mexico, there is an underground mine called the Fresnillo Mine. One of the oldest continuously running mines in the world is the one named after Fresnillo.
It is amazing that mining activity has been documented at the location dating back to 1554. Silver production for the entire year 2022 increased compared to 2021 primarily because more ore was processed as operating restrictions that hampered ore throughput in 2021 were resolved.
The brownfield mine, which is owned by Industrias Penoles Sde CV, is anticipated to produce 13.34 million ounces of silver in 2022. Till 2028, the mine will be in operation.
The Cannington Mine is an underground mine located in Queensland, Australia, and is owned by South32. In 2022, the greenfield mine is expected to produce 12.95 million ounces of silver. The mine is anticipated to close in 2031.
Russia’s Magadan Oblast is home to the surface and underground mine known as the Dukat Mine. The greenfield mine, which is owned by Polymetal International Plc, is anticipated to produce 12.8 million ounces of silver in 2022. The mine should continue to run until 2028.
One of the most significant assets for Fresnillo is Saucito, which is situated in Zacatecas, Mexico, 8 kilometers southwest of the mine. A lower volume of ore processed as a result of modifications to the short planning process resulted in a 3.7% decrease in the full year 2022 silver production of 12 Moz.
A record 44 million ounces of silver were produced in 2005 at the Cannington silver-lead-zinc mine owned by South32, which is located in north-western Queensland. Due to decreased silver grades since then, silver output has decreased significantly, and Cannington has finally lost its top spot in recent years. Production of silver at the mine fell by 19% to 11.7 Moz in calendar 2022.
A record 10.3 million ounces of silver were produced at Cerro Los Gatos in 2022, exceeding the upper limit of the most recent guidance range of 9.35 million to 9.65 million ounces and increasing by 36% from 7.6 million ounces in 2021. Higher silver ore grades and mill throughput rates were the main causes of the increased silver production.
Southeast Alaska’s Greens Creek mine is 100% owned and run by Hecla. Silver, zinc, gold, and lead are all found in the Greens Creek orebody. Underground mining is done at Greens Creek. Cut-and-fill mining and longhole stopping are the two main mining techniques. In 2022, Greens Creek produced 9.7 million ounces of silver, up 5% from the previous year and setting a new mill throughput record.
Argentina completes the top 10 with 800 metric tons of silver production in 2021. Along with Bolivia, Peru, Chile, and Mexico, it joins a number of other Latin American countries on the list.
9. United States
1,000 metric tons of the metal were produced in the United States in 2021, mostly from three silver-only mines and close to 40 other base and precious metal mining operations spread out across the nation. The two states that produce the most silver are Nevada and Alaska.
Bolivia, a country in South America, is ranked eighth, tied with Argentina, its neighbor. In 2021, it generated 1 000 metric tons of silver.
There are numerous silver mines in the nation, particularly Cerro Rico de Potos, which is thought to still contain significant silver deposits. The third-largest silver deposits in the world are found at the San Cristobal mine in Bolivia.
Australia has maintained relatively constant levels of silver production. Despite having the third-largest silver reserves after Poland and Peru, the nation produced 1,300 metric tons of silver in 2021. Australia’s area is roughly 80% that of the United States.
1,300 metric tons of silver were produced in Poland in 2021. Despite being a tiny nation the size of New Mexico, Poland holds a special position in the silver markets thanks to its substantial silver reserves, which total 70,000 metric tons.
Russia is twice as large as the United States but only produced 1,300 metric tons in 2021. The total silver deposits of Russia are estimated at 45,000 metric tons.
Chile produced 1,600 metric tons in 2021. Chile is comparable in size to Texas and has an estimated 26,000 metric tons of silver reserves.
From 2018 to 2019, Peru’s production of silver increased steadily, and it kept its position as the world’s second-largest producer. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing protester blockades, and some worker strikes, the South American country produced 3,000 metric tons of silver in 2021 as opposed to 4,160 metric tons in 2018.
Despite being a small nation, Peru is thought to have 91,000 metric tons of the world’s silver reserves.
In 2021, China produced 3,400 metric tons of silver. The country lost its second-place ranking to Peru in 2016, but retook it in 2020.
Mexico is the top silver-producing nation in the world. In 2021, the nation generated 5,600 metric tons. Mexico’s silver output is only anticipated to grow more.
The USGS estimates that 1.74 million metric tons of silver have been extracted to date. All of the silver ever discovered could fit in a cube 55 meters (!180.5 feet) on each side if that were melted down and formed into a cube.
There are still about 2.7–3.1 million metric tons of recoverable silver in the world, according to geologists and mining companies.
The amount of silver that is actually present in the metal or ore, or its “fineness,” is used to determine how pure silver is. Pure silver would be at 100% fineness. Contrarily, an alloy of sterling silver is described as having 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper (and/or other metals).
The market’s supply and demand determine how much silver costs at any given time. Silver is regarded by investors as a precious metal and as a store of value. Others buy silver to use in jewelry, coins, or other commercial applications.
One troy ounce of silver cost about $23.50 USD as of April 2022.