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‘Five new Greens Creeks needed to meet silver demand from solar’

Greens Creek in Alaska is the biggest silver mine in the US.

Greens Creek in Alaska is the biggest silver mine in the US.

19th February 2024

By: Mariaan Webb

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

     

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The relentless expansion of solar power installations is triggering a staggering surge in silver demand, which is outpacing production capacity, says US-based silver producer Hecla Mining CEO Phillips Baker.

Considering that each gigawatt of installed solar requires about 500 000 oz of silver, demand for the metal has spiked.

Baker points out that, in 2023, about 75% of the world’s new renewable electric power generation capacity was solar. “China alone installed as much solar as the entire world did in 2022, and significant new solar facilities are now planned for the US,” he says.

Silver demand for solar installations has increased by 50-million ounces to 190-million ounces last year, notes Baker.

“To put this 50-million ounces in context, that is the equivalent of five new Greens Creeks or ten new Lucky Fridays,” he says, drawing comparisons to Hecla’s iconic silver mines in the US.

In 2023, Greens Creek, in Alaska, produced 9.7-million ounces of silver.

According to the Silver Institute, the silver market saw what may well have been the biggest deficit on record in 2022, with a shortfall of 237.7-million ounces. Another hefty deficit is forecast for 2023.

With the mining industry unlikely to deliver a parallel production surge, the solution lies in above-ground silver and Baker says that prices will have to be higher to meet that demand.  

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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