Silver is a metal with a variety of applications. It is technically classified as a precious metal, but it has many industrial uses and is used in a variety of technologies and products that most people in the developed world use on a daily basis. In 2019, silver production went up globally to 27,000 tons. Jewelry, silverware, coin, and bar consumption levels all went up, so much so that there was actually an excess supply of silver left over. Below are the top global rankings of silver production by country, based on estimated data by the US Geological Survey.
10. United States
Ranked tenth on the list of top silver-producing countries is the United States. In 2019, it produced 980 metric tons of the metal, mainly from three dedicated silver mines and nearly 40 other base and precious metal mining operations around the country. The two top silver-producing states are Alaska and Nevada.
With silver production at 1,200 metric tons in 2019, Argentina ties with Bolivia for the crowded ninth-spot on this list. Last year saw its silver production increase by 17.6%. The total silver reserves for the country were not determined.
The South American nation of Bolivia ranks ninth on the list, tying with border country Argentina. It produced 1,200 metric tons of silver in 2019, a little more than its 2018 production of 1,190 metric tons. The country has many silver mines, especially the Cerro Rico de Potosí which is estimated to still have large deposits of silver inside. The San Cristobal mine in Bolivia has the third-largest silver deposits of any single mine in the world.
Chile produced 1,300 metric tons in 2019, up from 1,370 metric tons in 2018. Chile is comparable in size to Texas and has an estimated 27,000 metric tons of silver reserves.
Australia is a country that has held relatively stable silver production levels. The country produced 1,400 metric tons of silver in 2019, although it has the third-largest silver reserves after Peru and Poland. Australia is about 80% of the size of the United States.
Poland produced 1,700 metric tons of silver in 2019, up about 15% from 2018. Poland holds a unique place in the silver markets: despite being a small country the size of New Mexico, it has large silver reserves of 100,000 metric tons.
Russia, twice as large as the United States, produced the fourth-largest amount of silver. Russia's silver production remained stable from 2018 to 2019, producing 2,100 metric tons. The total silver deposits of Russia are estimated at 45,000 metric tons.
In 2019, China produced 3,600 metric tons of silver. Interestingly, 95% of China's silver production is the byproduct of other mining operations. The country lost its second place to Peru in 2016, and the country produces a little more than double the amount of silver that the U.S. does.
Peru has steadily grown its silver production levels and has maintained its second-place ranking from 2018 to 2019. The South American nation produced 3,800 metric tons of silver in 2019, down from 4,160 metric tons in 2018 due to protester blockades and some worker strikes. While a small country, Peru is thought to have the world's largest reserves of silver, with 120,000 known metric tons.
The number-one silver-producing country in the world is Mexico. In 2019, the country produced 6,300 metric tons of the metal, an increase of 180 metric tons over the past year. Silver production in Mexico is only expected to increase further.