Silver mining – where did it start?
Spanish and Portuguese explorers found a convenient trade route around the southernmost point of Africa and into Asia and the Americas during the period 1530 to 1700. Once these explorers had arrived in a country, they discovered and seized vast amounts of precious metals such as gold and silver. Silver mines sprang up in Mexico, Peru and Bolivia, and word got out that South and Central America was rich in valuable minerals.
Silver bearing ore is associated with other minerals, and the native silver is most commonly present in smidgen amounts. In those early days separating and concentrating silver from the other minerals was a tedious and complicated process. The silver-bearing ore was mechanically milled and spread into a thin layer. Copper sulphate, mercury and salt were added at regular intervals and tethered mules trampled in this sludge. The minerals in the sludge mixed, causing a chemical reaction between mercury and silver-bearing minerals. Mercury dissolved the silver, and it formed a solution. Silver has always been considered one of the eight precious metals, and in modern times it has acquired a special place in industrial applications, investment and silver jewellery and décor. When a metal is in demand, the price rises and investors pay attention.
Why should you invest in silver bullion?
Most of us are ignorant about whether a particular metal is a good or bad investment. Traditionally silver has taken second place to gold, but today it needs to be taken more seriously. The silver market is small and often volatile, but there are many other positive reasons to buy silver bullion, other than silver price.
- When you can physically hold silver bullion, you alone own the asset and the risk associated with owning an asset.
- Silver is not an expensive asset, and yet, like gold, it acts against inflation.
- You can buy silver bullion with relatively little money, and you can sell silver bullion when you need to sell.
- Historically silver markets are more volatile than gold markets. When the market is bullish, silver climbs faster and further than gold. However, in a bear market, silver falls more dramatically than gold.
- The United States, Mexico and India are the only countries today that stockpile silver.
- Ore reserves are depleting, and in 2020 silver production declined by 2.4%.
- Yesterday silver was only a precious metal, but today it has a growing number of industrial uses. Silver is highly reflective, and it conducts heat and electricity like no other metal. It is vital for the cell phone industry, electric car industry, solar panels, and medicine. Today, 56% of silver goes into these industries.
Buy silver bullion and add it to your investment portfolio, either as bars or as official government minted silver coins. Silver bars contain 99.9% silver, and once bought, they are a physical investment. Official government mints sell bullion coins. There is a difference between valuable silver collector coins and investable coins such as Silver American Eagle coins or Silver Canadian Maple Leaf coins. Which bullion you choose is really up to you, except you pay less premium for bars than you do for coins.