Why Copper Will Help Define Silver Supply Through At Least 2030

70% of silver supply comes as a "by-product" of base metals, e.g., lead, zinc, copper, and (some) gold. With the race to find, develop and market new copper projects, one might assume that "since new copper supply will come online during the next few years, it also means that a 'lot of silver' will also become available."

But these assumptions – on both counts – are almost certain to be incorrect. Here's why…

Copper production streams for the rest of the decade will be constrained by several cores, difficult to resolve considerations. First, most projects have been mined for decades; some for over a century. Grades and reserves have declined, while production costs have surged.

Silver, Bars, 5000 Grams, Real Value

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Another set of factors, substantially more problematic, hold the potential to pronounce life or death verdicts on many of the few current exploration-to-production stories.

When Ivanhoe's Kamoa-Kakula copper mine begins production this year it will become the world's second-largest copper operation, eclipsed only by Chile's Escondida. In Resource and copper grade, it may be without peers.

Located in high country-risk DRC – and JVD with DRC and Chinese partners – it provides a case study of ESG best practices and "green copper production," by Robert Friedland, perhaps the only operator who could pull it off.

Even the casual observer will find a tour of their site at https://www.ivanhoemines.com/ to be highly informative.

Rather unusually, the Kipushi Cu-Zn-Ge project, along with Kamoa-Kakula, does not appear to have significant silver values in the ore mix. So, in spite of the relatively large amount of copper produced, it will have no measurable effect on global silver yield.

Environment, Social, Governance (ESG)

Just because a mine is producing, doesn't mean it's "home free" for the life of mine (LOM).

Freeport's Grasberg in Papua Province, Indonesia, discovered in 1987 and billed as the world's third-largest copper reserves and second-largest gold reserves, is a case in point. It still has an estimated 30 years of production.

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Disclaimer: Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but there is no guarantee as to completeness or accuracy. Because individual investment ...

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