The global mine production of silver increased at a CAGR of 2.4% during the period 2006-10, from 20,200 tonnes to 22,200 tonnes. Peru was the largest producer, accounting for 18% of global production. Other important producers are Mexico(16%) and China (13%). Double digit increase in silver production was witnessed in countries such as Mexico and Argentina.
In India, the production of silver from mines and smelters increased at a CAGR of 31.8% from 31,5 kg in 2005 to 95,000 kg in 2009. Production has been rising significantly, starting 2007, due to increased production from the smelting unit of Hindustan Zinc Limited at Chanderiya, Rajasthan. Unlike some of the other metals, the private secto dominates the production of silver in India.
The global demand for silver increased at a CAGR of 3.4% from 26,181 tonnes in 2006 to 29,960 tonnes in 2010. The demand for silver in industria applications is rising with the improvement in global economic conditions. Although the demand in photography applications has been decreasing over the past few years, this has been compensate by heightened demand in the coins and medals segment. In fact, the demand for silver in the coins 3segment increased at a CAGR of 26.3% during 2006-2010.
During the last few years, mineral exploration has picked up momentum in the country on account of various favorable policy measures taken by the Government of India. The National Mineral Policy 2008 has laid special emphasis on regulations in minerals, survey and exploration and strategies for mineral development in the country. This policy initiative may encourage heightened involvement of private sector companies in the survey and exploration of minerals in India in the future.
The Geological Survey of India (GSI), Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research Departments of Geology and Mining (DGM) of various states are the primarily organizations involved in mineral exploration in the country. Some of the public sector companies, National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd (MECL) and Manganese Ore (India) Ltd. (MOIL) are also involved in mineral exploration activities in the country.
India is the largest importer and consumer of silver globally; consuming around 3,000 tonnes per annum. Demand is increasing as many consumers shift from gold to silver, driven by spike in gold prices. This is increasing the demand for silver jewellery and fabrication applications. In addition, demand from rural consumers, which account for 60% of India's imports, remains high.
Hindustan Zinc Limited HZL is the largest producer of the silver in India. It produces silver from its mine located in Chittorgarh, Rajasthan and refined silver from its 179-tonnes Chanderiya smelting complex in Rajasthan. During 2009-10, some significant discoveries made in the field of gold, diamond, limestone, iron ore and manganese in India.
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