Silver’s Role in the Green Economy

Nov 06, 2023

The Silver Institute participated this month in a panel titled, Silver’s Role in the Green Economy, at the prestigious London Bullion Market Association’s Global Precious Metals Conference in Barcelona, Spain, which had over 850 delegates.

Phillips Baker, President and CEO of Hecla Mining Company and Chairman of the Silver Institute, along with the Institute’s Executive Director, Michael DiRienzo, who moderated the panel, and Trevor Keel, Ph.D., the Institute’s Technical Director, addressed the delegates about silver’s role as an energy-transition metal.

Highlighting silver’s important role in the application of solar energy, Baker underscored that silver’s use in solar is not only vital to the application, but also that silver demand for solar use is projected to significantly grow for the foreseeable future. Dr. Keel emphasized that while there are efforts to thrift out of silver in this application, silver remains the critical ingredient in making the panels functional, and it will remain so for quite some time.

Turning to the global effort to increase electric vehicle (EV) usage, DiRenzo noted that EV growth in just the first quarter of this year in the United States increased 56 percent over the same period in 2022. Dr. Keel added that as the complexity of these vehicles continues to evolve, more silver will be required for their functionality.

Delegates asked Mr. Baker whether we will have enough silver for the green transition. He replied in the affirmative, explaining that while the silver market is currently in a structural deficit, above-ground stocks of silver will be mobilized to meet the demand. He added, however, that there are no new significant silver deposit discoveries at present, and that geopolitical issues and mine permitting delays continue to be encumbrances to bringing new sources of mined silver supply to market.

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