How much silver is left in the ground?

Discussion in 'Bullion Investing' started by Vess1, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. Vess1

    Vess1 CT SP VIP

    Has anyone here done any serious research into how much physical silver is left in the ground on Earth? I'm sure this is very similar to oil with much speculation swirling around any opinion. Based on what I've heard, I would say we're already past peak oil and probably heading down the other side of the curve. I've talked to some people who think there's gobs of oil left out there and we're still heading up the curve. That it will be plenty to last us for 200+ years, "globally" (which really isn't that much time for how much we rely on it.)

    Is there any similar opinion on when we'll hit peak silver? Or if we already have? How much do they think has already been mined? How much more is thought to be available if prices got so ridiculous that they could theoretically mine it anywhere? Just like oil, consumption has sky-rocketed compared to 100 years ago. Had it stayed at the old rate of consumption, there would probably be no serious concern. But I'm wondering if at the new rate of consumption, with so many people and so much more industry, if it will get fairly scarce over the next 100 years? Well, maybe not scarce but far more expensive to obtain. Is it inevitable?

    It's hard to trust the facts of any place that's selling PMs. I also don't trust the government for information because you know dm well they'll be telling us there's plenty of oil, (or whatever) and nothing to worry about via cell phone from their motorcades as they head to their underground bunkers in Virginia. I would not expect any official to say anything that would cause alarm until after it has already physically happened and can't be denied anymore.
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  3. Mr. Flute

    Mr. Flute Well-Known Member

    I doubt there is anyway to really know, but I'm not a Plus, silver isn't "consumed" the way oil is. Peak oil should be a very real concern. The vast majority of oil, I presume, is literally burned up as fuel and making more oil takes/took millions of years.

    Whereas with silver I doubt a large amount of it is actually consumed through industrial uses and there are probably billions of ounces sitting around on people's necks and in safes.

    Even if there was a "peak" silver I doubt it would be that much of a economic/social issue because it's not an essential commodity to the function of our bodies (food/water) and our civilization (oil).
  4. Guano

    Guano New Member

    Silver can be used to grow food and power our cars.
  5. rodeoclown

    rodeoclown Dodging Bulls

    Answer: Plenty

  6. There is a company that is developing the technology to start mining the asteroid belt just on the outskirts of our galaxy. I saw an interview on CNBC in which they stated the asteroids are loaded with platinum, gold and silver and many other elements. :eek: TC
  7. Vess1

    Vess1 CT SP VIP

    I know that peak silver wouldn't have anywhere near the impact as running out of oil. And it may not be a big economic or social issue. I'm sure other resources could probably be used in place of silver in some areas if it ran out.

    I realize the answer to my question may be that "there is no concern." Although I think you may be underestimating how much silver is lost in consumer electronics which can be reclaimed but is usually thrown away. Mainly because people either don't bother or it's too much work and too hazardous to bother reclaiming it.
    I'll have to look into this a bit. There likely is no definitive answer since there's no way to know for sure. Just wondered if there was the same speculation over PMs as there is oil.
  8. rickmp

    rickmp Frequently flatulent.

    More than enough to keep me happy.
  9. Copper Head

    Copper Head Active Member

    There are trillions of barrels of oil locked up in shale and tar sands and who knows how much offshore where no one has yet looked, let alone drilled. Don't know about silver. No one on this forum will see the end to either one.
  10. rodeoclown

    rodeoclown Dodging Bulls

    Outskirts of our galaxy? What, do they plan on sending probes there to pick it up and come back in say, 100 to 200 years or longer? It took our Voyager probe what, almost 2 decades to just travel beyond Pluto.

    Perhaps you meant Solar System but still, they estimate it would take 6 - 9 months just to make it to Mars one way. Unless this company is developing ships that can travel at or near the speed of light, I think they're destined to fail with current technology.
  11. WoodyWW

    WoodyWW Junior Member

    Almost nobody "needs" silver, I think the main demand now is by investors. Billions of people need various forms of oil, or products delivered by vehicles, planes, ships, that use oil. Our army, navy, air force needs tons of oil, gas, & jet fuel (to, in part--keep invading oil producing countries). Does that seem weird to anyone?

    Honestly, I think buying certain oil company stocks right now may be a better buy than silver.....
  12. Vess1

    Vess1 CT SP VIP

    I watched an interesting show a while back that said all the minerals deposited on Earth or any other planet would have originally came from exploding stars. It was extremely interesting. They showed how some stars go through the end of their lives by consuming themselves. As this happens, the composition of the star changes and then condenses towards the center. They said some elements had much shorter stages but that the star would eventually go through them all. They said for a brief time, the star generates gold and platinum. Eventually it explodes and expels all of it's elements out into the galaxy to be deposited on other planets, like Earth.
    It explained why gold and platinum is rare compared to other elements. If the asteroids are remnants from an exploded star, they are probably loaded with PMs! As you say. It's still hard to believe that it would be possible to mine an asteroid and haul it all back. Would be really cool though.

    Little off topic but they also showed on a computer animated grid how relatively tiny our sun is compared to other stars in the universe. Our sun is like a little marble. The huge stars are probably responsible for most of the PMs we have. If they were all as small as our sun we might not have anything on Earth.

    They also said some stars pack the materials very densely and then burn out and turn into a pulsar(?) without exploding. They theorize the material is so dense that a small stone of it that could fit on a table spoon would weigh 100 million tons. If a small chunk of it were to ever collide with Earth, it would plow through the entire planet and come out the other side. So they say.
  13. rodeoclown

    rodeoclown Dodging Bulls

    Stars are responsible for all of the matter we physically see in our universe, not just most of the PMs we have, all of them. You are made of star dust as well.

    What's really hard to imagine is, imagine you can enlarge an atom, say, to the size of the largest Cathedral in the world, the size of it's nucleus would be the size of a honey bee in the center of it and the nearest electron rotating around it would be 100-200 yards away from the center nucleus. Although atoms to us look dense but there's actually a lot of space within them at the microscopic level. Neutrino's are even smaller, imagine if you were the size of a neutrino for a second passing through our earth and even our own bodies, the view you'd see would be similar to what we see when star gazing through a power telescope, I'd imagine neutrino's see the atoms that make our surrounding physical world we can see look like billions of stars that we see in our own universe.

  14. rickmp

    rickmp Frequently flatulent.

    Reminds me of the pot smoking scene in "Animal House".

  15. JCB1983

    JCB1983 Learning

    A couple of things come to mind. #1 if silver becomes too expensive to mine will industries turn to a substitute? And #2 Do we have an effective way of recycling used silver?

    I see sustained demand in the form of emerging markets; not to mention the obvious hedge against inflation (which I feel as though the average human is no intune with). When people are snapped into reality about the state of the USD, I doubt they would choose gold over silver (even if silver were 100 p oz).
  16. My bad. The company (Planetary Resources, Inc.) plans to mine the asteroids that zip close by Earth so to get the PMs back quickly. I saw the news while on the treadmill at the gym and was obviously checking out the other heavenly bodies at the gym and not paying that close attention to the program. :devil: TC
  17. jjack

    jjack Captain Obvious

    Yes there substitutes for silver fact that it is industrial metal once again make it is risky since if dollar devalues as most silver stackers' are predicting, chances are silver will go down with it since most of the inventory is held by industries who will liquidate their supply in anticipation of such a move. Even if there is consumer demand it won't make up for industrial demand.
  18. Guano

    Guano New Member

    Not everything, you're getting your Sagan a little wrong....The iron in your blood can be made in no other place but a star.
  19. InfleXion

    InfleXion Wealth Preserver

    To the OP, I have no idea how much silver is left in the Earth, but I can say the following.

    Epithermal Deposition, the phenomenon that causes the majority of large silver veins to occur near the surface of the Earth's crust, means that silver is no longer readily available in large deposits after having been mined for centuries with increasingly effective technology. This phenomenon happens because of the melting point of silver and how the planet cooled when it was formed, and as far as I know is unique to silver. While other metals are more equally distributed throughout the planet, silver is primarily at the surface and is becoming increasingly scarce, and expensive and difficult to mine. That's not to say some mining breakthrough can't overcome this, but it is a factor. This is evidenced by the mining production numbers. Recently silver has been mined out of the ground at around a 7:1 ratio to gold, even though it is commonly known that the past abundance in the Earth's crust is 17:1. So the gap in this ratio is narrowing with certainty.

    While I do believe we have seen evidence of peak oil with new discoveries dwindling over the last 50 years, I think peak silver is more of a certainty than peak oil, even if peak oil is destined to happen first. Reason being is that oil is produced by fossils (supposedly, even though scientists don't completely agree) which means that even though it may take a long time it can be reproduced from other existing organic material. Precious metals on the other hand are only produced by a supernova, and unless we master the process of creating a red giant / supernova within a controlled environment we are completely limited to how much is already in existence on the planet unless we mine other celestial bodies.
  20. fatima

    fatima Junior Member

    Actually it's believed that most of the PM in the crust of the earth came from the Late Heavy Bombardment.
  21. dannic113

    dannic113 Member

    I think the question you are really asking is will the mining industry be able to keep up with demand of investors? industry? medicine? The answer is maybe. My coin guy was mentioning a month ago that we may, key word may see gold hit and sustain 2K/try.oz and silver steady between $50-60/try.oz simply because the world's appitite is just too large for mining concerns to keep up. If demand out weighs production or supply it's off to the races as far as price so pray the mining companies keep hauling it up. As for your specific question the amount of PM in the earth we haven't found it all and just like diamonds, oil (as things die) more is being made everyday it just takes centuries to form and mass in quantity. Look how much silver was found in the comstock lode and how fast it ran dry but we still are mining silver it wasn't the end; just the end of the comstock mines.
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