What Happens When Silver Reserves Run Out?
The question of what happens when we run out of silver is a pressing concern in today's society. While it may seem inevitable that natural silver reserves will eventually deplete, the consequences of such a scenario are often underestimated. Silver plays a critical role in the sustainable technological advancement of our species. Its importance cannot be overstated. However, the world is rapidly approaching a point where economically mineable silver reserves will be completely exhausted. It is estimated that by 2025, there will be no economically viable silver reserves left on Earth.
This alarming situation is exacerbated by the fact that there are currently no significant known silver reserves remaining. The remaining silver reserves, both above and below ground, are economically unfeasible to extract at current prices. Moreover, despite the potential for recycling silver from electronic waste, the extraction costs associated with recycling silver from most industrial and household goods make it economically impractical.
Consider the vast amount of usable silver present in discarded electronic devices such as mobile phones, PCs, tablets, television screens, and more. These goods, along with numerous other industrial applications, contain substantial amounts of silver that could be recycled. However, without a substantial increase in the price of silver, the extraction and recycling of these reserves remain economically unviable.
The growing demand for silver in industries such as photovoltaics (solar panels) and electric vehicle (EV) batteries further intensifies the strain on remaining silver reserves. The photovoltaic industry currently consumes 98 million ounces of silver annually, and the demand from EV batteries is projected to reach nearly 90 million ounces annually by 2025. Additionally, silver has numerous medical uses, further adding to its demand.
One potential solution is a substantial increase in the price of silver. If the artificially suppressed silver prices rise significantly, it would make previously unfeasible ore reserves economically viable. This price appreciation would encourage the recycling of silver from electronic waste and stimulate the exploration of untapped silver deposits.
The current spot silver prices, manipulated by paper and derivative trading, are trading at less than a fifth of their inflation-adjusted 1980 all-time highs. Meanwhile, inflation rates are on the rise. A decoupling of silver prices from their suppressed levels would likely lead to a reevaluation of the entire silver derivatives market. This could result in significant changes and impacts on the broader financial sector, particularly in the derivatives market.
However, a reevaluation of silver prices and the derivatives market would require a shift in trust and faith. If investors and consumers lose faith in the current economic system and its mediums of exchange, a significant restructuring becomes inevitable.
It is worth noting that the potential depletion of silver reserves and the subsequent price increase could have far-reaching consequences. It could lead to the consolidation of remaining silver reserves by corporations and powerful entities, limiting access for retail investors. There is also a historical precedent for government intervention in the precious metals market, such as the US government's seizure of gold in 1933.
In light of these challenges, alternative solutions such as tokenised ownership of silver, provide an avenue for individuals to preserve their wealth and maintain sovereignty. By holding gold and silver tokens, individuals can enjoy the benefits of physical ownership without the associated costs and logistical challenges.
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