Silver is an affordable precious metal with diverse qualities. Apart from its usual ornamental purposes, this metal has a wide range of industrial applications. Though silver might not be as valuable as gold or platinum, its popularity is steadily increasing and this asset turns into a very attractive and reliable source of investment. Today with precious metals` mining, company shares rise due to the growing shortage of above ground supply. Investment in silver has never been more promising. Moreover, in times of global economic uncertainty, precious metals are considered a safe haven for investors.
Although precise time of discovery remains unknown, the ancient civilizations knew about this precious metal. The first evidence dates back to the Bronze Age when people mined silver for jewelry. For more than four millennia, silver has been used as a form of money or investment. Findings on the Aegean Sea islands and Asia Minor indicate that the first miners were able to separate silver from lead (silver ore usually contains lead).
The first recorded location of silver mining is traced to Anadola in modern Turkey. Another famous silver mining site of this period was Laurion near Athens, Greece. Both sites were very rich in silver and provided very generous supplies to the ancient civilizations which explored them.
The 18th and the beginning of the 19th century were marked with further discovery of deposits. The use of silver for investment purposes increased and contributed to the expansion of the industry.
Nowadays, silver mining has become an extremely profitable business due to the great investment and non-investment demands for silver. In our modern technological era, virtually every field experiences demand for silver, from electronics to pharmaceutics. In addition, more than one million ounces of silver are required annually in the jewelry and silverware industries. A great number of companies engaged in silver mining have appeared on the market. This development coincides with both: dwindling of deposits and the ever growing interest in silver shares.
Companies such as Grupo Mexico, Industrias Peñoles, BHP Billiton, KGHM Polska Miedz, Volcan Compania Minera, and Rio Tinto are amongst the world’s largest silver producers at present. Grupo Mexico corporation is the owner of Mexico’s largest mining company. Its shares are listed as GMBXF on OTC. Industrias Peñoles, listed on the Mexican Stock Exchange under the symbol PE&OLES, is the second largest Mexican mining company. While refined silver is the main product of the miner, Indusrtias Peñoles is also the owner of the world’s largest silver mine. The world’s largest mining company, BHP Billiton, was created by the merger of the Australian-based BHP Ltd and the UK-based Billiton Plc. As a result, its shares are listed on the Australian Securities Exchange as BHP Ltd and on the London Stock Exchange as BHP Billiton Plc.
The Polish company KGHM Polska Miedz is among the largest silver and copper miners in the world. The miner trades its shares on the Warsaw Stock Exchange under the symbol KGHM. Volcan Compania Minera operates in Peru and produces silver, lead, copper, and zinc concentrates. The miner trades its shares both, on the Lima Stock Exchange and on the Madrid Stock Exchange. Rio Tinto is a leader in the mining and processing of mineral resources such as iron ore, aluminum, uranium, copper, coal, and diamonds. The company is multinational group with headquarters in England and Australia. Its shares are dually-listed on both the London Stock Exchange and the Australian Securities Exchange.