Investigating the sustainability of the global silver supply, reserves, stocks in society and market price using different approaches

Harald Sverdrup, Deniz Koca, Kristin Vala Ragnarsdottir

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43 Citations (SciVal)


The authors have collected data for the silver market, shedding light on market size, stocks in society and silver flows in society. The world supply from mining, depletion of the remaining reserves, reducing ore grades, market price and turnover of silver was simulated using the SILVER model developed for this study. The model combines mining, trade markets, price mechanisms, populations dynamics, use in society and waste and recycling into an integrated system. At the same time the degree of sustainability and resource time horizon was estimated using different methods such as: 1: burn-off rates, 2: peak discovery early warning, 3: Hubbert's production model, and 4: System dynamic modelling. The Hubbert's model was run for the period of 6000 BC-3000 AD, the SILVER system dynamics model was run for the time range 1840-2340. We have estimated that the ultimately recoverable reserves of silver are in the range 2.7-3.1 million tonne silver at present, of which approximately 1.35-1.46 million tonne have already been mined. The timing estimate range for peak silver production is narrow, in the range 2027-2038, with the best estimate in 2034. By 2240, all silver mines will be nearly empty and exhausted. The outputs from all models converge to emphasize the importance of consistent recycling and the avoidance of irreversible losses to make society more sustainable with respect to silver market supply. (C) 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-140
JournalResources, Conservation & Recycling
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Chemical Engineering


  • Silver
  • Reserves
  • Mining
  • Recycling
  • Modelling
  • Sustainability


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