silver data

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    SILVER

    (Data in metric tons1/ of silver content, unless noted)

    Domestic Production and Use: Silver produced by about 120 mines in 18 States had an
    estimated value of $250 million. The following four States accounted for nearly
    three-fourths of the 1995 mine production: Nevada, 44%; Arizona, 11%; Idaho, 11%;
    and Montana, 5%. Precious metal ores accounted for approximately one-half of
    domestic silver production; the other one-half was recovered from base metal ores.
    There were 22 principal refiners of commercial-grade silver. About 30 fabricators
    accounted for more than 90% of the silver consumed in arts and industry. The
    remainder was consumed mostly by small companies and artisans. The largest silver
    fabricators were principally in the Northeast. Approximately 50% of the refined
    silver consumed domestically in 1995 was used in the manufacture of photographic
    products; 20% in electrical and electronic products; 10% in electroplated ware,
    sterlingware, and jewelry; and 20% in other uses.

    Salient Statistics--United States: 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995e/
    Production: Mine 1,860 1,800 1,640 1,480 1,500
    Refinery: Primary 1,880 2,160 1,790 1,810 1,800
    Recycled 1,700 1,760 2,020 1,700 1,700
    Imports for consumption2/ 2,700 3,220 2,500 2,600 3,000
    Exports2/ 841 1,010 811 967 1,500
    Shipments from Government
    stockpile excesses 255 356 404 186 300
    Price, average, New York,
    dollars per troy ounce 4.04 3.94 4.30 5.29 5.30
    Stocks, yearend:
    Treasury Department3/ 1,030 775 912 882 850
    COMEX, CBT4/ 8,760 9,380 10,500 10,400 6,000
    Department of Defense 23 29 34 15 20
    Employment, mine and mill5/ 1,900 1,600 1,100 1,000 1,000

    Recycling: About 2,000 metric tons of silver was recovered from recycled material in
    1995.

    Import Sources2/ (1991-94): Mexico, 38%; Canada, 33%; Peru, 16%; Chile, 10%; and
    other, 3%.

    Tariff: No duties are imposed on imports of unrefined silver or refined bullion.

    Depletion Allowance: 15% (Domestic), 14% (Foreign).

    Government Stockpile:

    Stockpile Status--9-30-95

    Uncommitted Committed Authorized Disposals
    Material inventory inventory for disposal Jan.-Sept. 95
    Silver 1,450 -- 1,450 232

    Prepared by Robert G. Reese, Jr., (703) 648-4980.

    SILVER

    Events, Trends, and Issues: Domestic silver production remained essentially
    unchanged from the previous year, despite a slight improvement in the average price.
    Although analysts estimated that domestic silver consumption increased in 1995, it
    was believed that the increase was met through a decrease in investor-held stocks.

    The Government continued to dispose of the silver held in the National Defense
    Stockpile, using it primarily for the production of commemorative coins and the Eagle
    silver bullion coins. In nearly 14 years, from 1982 through late 1995, the
    Government has reduced the quantity of silver held in the stockpile from nearly 4,300
    metric tons to less than 1,500 metric tons.

    In 1995, the average silver price remained essentially unchanged from the previous
    year. Through the first 9 months, the daily price ranged between $4.39 and $6.02 per
    troy ounce.

    World Mine Production, Reserves, and Reserve Base:
    Mine production Reserves6/ Reserve base6/
    1994 1995e/
    United States 1,480 1,500 31,000 72,000
    Australia 1,060 1,100 29,000 33,000
    Canada 758 900 37,000 47,000
    Mexico 2,330 2,200 37,000 40,000
    Peru 1,700 1,600 25,000 37,000
    Other countries 6,570 6,600 120,000 190,000
    World total (rounded) 13,900 14,000 280,000 420,000

    World Resources: Approximately two-thirds of world silver resources are associated
    with copper, lead, and zinc deposits. The remaining one-third is in vein deposits in
    which silver is the most valuable metallic component. Although most recent
    discoveries have been primarily gold and silver deposits, significant future reserves
    and resources are expected from major base metal discoveries that contain byproduct
    silver.

    Substitutes: Aluminum and rhodium substitute for silver in mirrors and other
    reflecting surfaces. Tantalum can be used in place of silver for surgical plates,
    pins, and sutures. Stainless steel is an alternate material used widely in the
    manufacture of table flatware. Nonsilver batteries being developed may replace
    silver batteries in some applications. Silverless black and white film, film with
    reduced silver content, and xerography are alternatives to some uses of silver in
    photography.

    e/Estimated.
    1/One metric ton (1,000 kilograms) = 32,150.7 troy ounces
    2/Refined bullion, plus silver content of ores, concentrates, precipitates, and dor‚;
    excludes coinage, and waste and scrap material.
    3/Balance in Mint only.
    4/COMEX: Commodity Exchange Inc., New York. CBT: Chicago Board of Trade.
    5/Source: Mine Safety and Health Administration.
    6/Includes silver recoverable as a byproduct of base metal ores. See Appendix C for
    definitions.

    Mineral Commodity Summaries, January 1996
 
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