Silver has a long history and is steeped in Peruvian culture. In that country, it is associated with the feminine and mysterious powers of the moon. In the past, silver was believed to be tears of the moon by the Inca tribe. These people were captivated by the shiny gleam of this precious metal.
Ancient Peruvians were well aware of the political power and religious relevance of silver. The history of silver dates back to the 12th century under the Chimu regime. The Silver Institute reports that Peru produced more than 3 million troy ounces during 1600 and 1800.
In recent times, Peru has become the top silver producing country in the world. Increased investment into the precious metal saw sizable increases in the production of silver during 2005-2009. From 2000-2004 to 2004-2009 there was a 30 percent increase in the production of silver in Peru. By 2009, Peru attained the production of 123.9 million troy ounces of silver as per the Silver Institute. The rest of the world combined managed to produce 709.6 million ounces for that year.
Peru has achieved the status of being the number 1 silver producer and this is backed up by the fact that the country is responsible for 18 percent of the world’s total silver production. Mexico, China, Australia and Bolivia are next in line. In 2010, it was reported by the Energy and Mines ministry that production fell by 4.22 percent during the first 7 months of that year. In August there was a further 6.8 percent reduction in production when compared with the same month of the previous year.
It is anticipated that investment in mining in Peru will reach $200 million during 2010 and 2019. According to the President of the Peru National Society for Mining, Mr Hans Flurry, Peru is expecting to have access to $35 million for the purposes of mining investment in the next 7 years. Investors see this as good business as Peru has a strong infrastructure, the tax policy is equitable and the government is supportive of mining. Peru’s rich natural resources make Peru an even better option for investment into mines.
Sixty percent of Peru’s total exports are related to the mining industry. In the first 5 months of 2010, $7.8 million mining exports took place and this was 40 percent more than the same time frame in 2009. Many of the largest silver mining companies are established in Peru. Some of them include Southern Copper Corp ranked thirteenth (NYSE:SCCO), Cia. de Minas Buenaventura ranked eleventh (NYSE:BVN), Hochschild Mining ranked sixth, Cia. Minera Volcan ranked fifth, Pan American Silver ranked fourth (NASDAQ:PAAS; TSE:PAA) and finally BHP Billiton ranked first in 2009 NYSE:BHP; ASX:BHP.
Peru boasts to have 4 of the top silver producing mines in the world today. In 2009, Buenaventura’s Uchucchacua produced 10.56 million ounces in 2009.