Global mine production fell marginally in 2022 to 822.4 Moz. This followed strong growth in the previous year when production rose by nearly 6 percent as mines recovered from the disruption caused by the pandemic. Last year’s decline resulted from lower by-product output from lead/zinc mines, particularly in China and Peru. Production from primary silver mines was almost flat year-on-year, rising by just 0.1 percent to 228.2 Moz. Peru suffered the most significant decline at -8.5 Moz due to mine suspensions, falling grades at several major mines, and disruption due to social unrest. Mexico’s production, however, grew by 3.1 Moz, Argentina’s by 3.0 Moz, and Russia’s by 2.2 Moz.
Recycling activity rose for a third year in a row, with the 3 percent lift taking the total to a 10-year high of 180.6 Moz. This was driven by the 7 percent rise in industrial scrap, which reflected an increase in the processing of spent E.O. catalysts. However, jewelry and silverware recycling had only marginal gains.
Material and statistics in this section were adapted in part from the Silver Institute’s World Silver Survey 2023.