Silver miner exchange-traded funds (ETFs) provide exposure to companies that produce silver, which is valued as both an industrial metal and a precious metal. These companies are engaged in the acquisition, exploration, development, and production of silver and other metals such as lead, copper, or gold. Silver is often produced as a byproduct from mining for these other metals. While there are silver ETFs that track the price of the silver commodity, silver miner ETFs are focused specifically on stocks of companies that produce silver. Silver miner ETFs provide investors with a straightforward way to gain broad diversification across the silver mining industry.

Key Takeaways

  • The price of silver outperformed the broader market over the past year.
  • The ETFs with the best 1-year trailing total return are SLVP, SIL, and SILJ.
  • The top holding of the first and third of these ETFs is Pan American Silver Corp., and the top holding of the second is Wheaton Precious Metals Corp.

There are three silver miner ETFs that trade in the U.S. The price of silver, which is a major determinant of the profitability of silver mining companies, has outperformed the broader market over the past year. Silver prices have risen 42.0% over the past 12 months, more than double the Russell 1000's total return of 19.8%, as of December 14, 2020. The best-performing silver miner ETF, based on performance over the past year, is the iShares MSCI Global Silver Miners ETF (SLVP). We examine the top 3 best silver miner ETFs below. All numbers below are as of December 15, 2020.

iShares MSCI Global Silver Miners ETF (SLVP)

  • Performance over 1-Year: 41.8%
  • Expense Ratio: 0.39%
  • Annual Dividend Yield: 1.36%
  • 3-Month Average Daily Volume: 182,245
  • Assets Under Management: $214.3 million
  • Inception Date: January 31, 2012
  • Issuer: iShares

SLVP tracks the MSCI ACWI Select Silver Miners Investable Market Index, which gauges the performance of companies across developed and emerging markets that generate most of their revenues from silver mining. The ETF is comprised of silver mining companies across the market-cap spectrum and follows a blended strategy, investing in a mix of both value and growth stocks. Although considered a global fund, as attested by its name, the fund is heavily tilted towards the Canadian silver mining industry with about 60% of its 31 holdings based in Canada. U.S.-based companies receive an 18% allocation and U.K.-based ones receive 10%. The fund's top three holdings include Pan American Silver Corp. (PAAS:TSE), a Canada-based silver producer with operations in Latin America and the U.S.; Hecla Mining Co. (HL), a mining company that explores, develops, and produces minerals, gold, silver, and other base metals; and Fresnillo PLC (FRES:LON), a Mexico-based mining and exploration company that owns and operates both silver and gold mines.

Global X Silver Miners ETF (SIL)

  • Performance over 1-Year: 33.0%
  • Expense Ratio: 0.65%
  • Annual Dividend Yield: 1.30%
  • 3-Month Average Daily Volume: 407,588
  • Assets Under Management: $989.6 million
  • Inception Date: April 19, 2010
  • Issuer: Global X

SIL tracks the Solactive Global Silver Miners Index, which is designed to gauge the performance of the global silver mining industry. The ETF provides exposure to a broad range of silver mining companies with various market capitalizations. It follows a blended strategy, investing in both growth and value stocks. Of the fund's 41 holdings, about 56% are based in Canada, 13% in Russia, and 9% in the U.S. Its top three holdings include Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. (WPM:TSE), a Canada-based precious metals streaming company focused on gold and silver projects; Polymetal International PLC (POLY:LON), a Cyprus-based gold and silver mining company; and Pan American Silver.

ETFMG Prime Junior Silver ETF (SILJ)

  • Performance over 1-Year: 19.4%
  • Expense Ratio: 0.69%
  • Annual Dividend Yield: N/A
  • 3-Month Average Daily Volume: 1,051,715
  • Assets Under Management: $491.9 million
  • Inception Date: November 29, 2012
  • Issuer: ETF Managers Group

SILJ tracks the Prime Junior Silver Miners & Explorers Index, which gauges the performance of small-cap companies engaged in the silver mining and production industry. The ETF provides exposure to small-cap silver mining companies across developed markets. It follows a blended strategy of investing in a mix of both growth and value stocks. Of the fund's 51 holdings, about 53% are based in Canada, 41% in the U.S., and 5% in the U.K. The fund's top three holdings include Pan American Silver; Hecla Mining; and First Majestic Silver Corp. (FR:TSE), a Canada-based mining company focused on silver production in Mexico.