According to the most recently released data from Chile’s Ministry of Mining, the country’s silver production declined a stunning 26% in the first quarter of 2017. This is a big deal as Chile is the fourth largest silver producing country in the world. The majority of Chile’s silver production comes as a by-product of copper production.
Chile is the largest copper producer in the world, by a long shot. Last year, Chile produced 5.5 million tons of copper compared to Peru, who took a distant second place at 2.3 million tons.
Regardless, Chile’s silver production declined to 283.4 metric tons (mt) Q1 2017 versus 383.8 mt during the same quarter last year. Again, this is a huge 26% decline in the first three months of the year:
Chile’s silver production declined 101 mt (3.2 million oz) Q1 2017, due to a strike at the country’s largest copper mine, Escondida, as well as a drop off in copper production from many other producers.