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Jim Letourneau's Blog

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Silver Series - History of Silver Mining

History of Silver Mining

  • 3000 BC The first major silver mines were founded in Anatolia, modern day Turkey.

  • 1st Century AD Roman discoveries allowed Spain to become a major silver producer.

  • Early 1500s After Columbus’ New World expeditions, the discovery of huge, prolific silver deposits in Mexico, Peru and Bolivia changed the focus of silver mining and enriched the Spanish Empire for 300 years.

  • 1500 – 1875 Approximately 1.5 billion ounces mined in Mexico with the majority produced during the 1700’s.

  • 1700s The backbone of the Spanish Empire was the one billion ounces of silver produced
    from La Veta Madre (The Mother Vein) in Guanajuato Mexico (Endeavour Silver has mines hosted in the
    Veta Madre) .

  • 1857 Silver mining became an important industry in the State of Nevada when the fabled Comstock Lode was discovered.

  • 1859 - 1877 Comstock yielded silver and gold with a value approaching $400 million, the equivalent of more than $500 billion today.

  • 1900 – 1920 50 per cent expansion in global production to about 190 million troy ounces annually
    spurred by discoveries in several countries including Canada, the United States and
    Mexico.

  • 1921 – Present Improved techniques in ore separation allowed for concentration of silver with lead, zinc and copper. The explosion in production of these various base metal sources has led to an increase in both silver output and silver usage.