Peak China Silver: The Looming Extinction Event

The comments below are an edited and abridged synopsis of an article by Bai Xiaojun

China is running out of silver. It is among the top five silver consumers globally, with an average annual demand of 6,300 tons over the past decade. United States Geological Survey (USGS) data from 2011-2020 reveals that China’s yearly silver production is barely 3,350 tons, leaving a significant supply gap of approximately 3,000 tons to be fulfilled through imports.

Peak China Silver: The Looming Extinction Event - BullionBuzz - Nick's Top Six
3d map of China resting on national flag backdrop. 3d illustration

China has limited proven silver reserves (41,000 tons in 2020). If current mining rates persist, a meager 11 years of silver mining remains. By 2032, China’s silver resources will be fully depleted.

Mexico might be worse. As the world’s leading silver producer, it has seen an average annual output of 5,600 tons in the past decade. Unfortunately, its silver reserves dwindled to 37,000 tons as of 2020. If mining continues at the current pace, the country’s reserves will be exhausted by the end of 2026.

In the face of the global panic triggered by Mexico’s silver depletion in 2026 and China’s silver exhaustion in 2032, China must address critical questions: How can it realize its national 2035 high-tech development strategy? How can it resolve the severe shortage of silver resources?

The dilemma of industrial demand will also affect the US, the UK, Germany, Japan, South Korea and others. By 2030, global demand for silver is set to rise to 35,000 tons. However, with Mexico’s silver rapidly depleting and China’s reserves nearing zero, global supply will plummet to 16,000 tons, exacerbating the silver resource crisis.