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Other supplies of silver

Scrap, recycling & jewellery

After supplies of silver bullion from mines, the major source of supply to the silver investment market comes from recycled scrap and jewellery.

Around 250 million ounces of recycled silver enter the silver market each year, supplementing the 750 million odd ounces of mine supply. These sources of silver supply collectively amount to a relatively modest one bullion ounces a year. The silver investing market is small enough to be heavily influenced by large investors, in the same way the Hunt brothers attempted in the 1970s. Large investors – such as Warren Buffet – have also sought to invest in silver in the post-2000 bull market in precious metals investing.

Another trend for silver investors to watch is that because silver is used in micro amounts in medical dressings, water filters and circuitry, it is mostly uneconomic to recover silver via recycling. With silver’s growing number of uses being in micro form some commentators see supplies of recycled silver declining in years to come, fuelling rising spot silver prices.