Learn About the World's 10 Biggest Silver Producers

The world's 10 largest silver producers account for over 290 million ounces of the metal or just over 35 percent of global mine production. The list below is based on information from The Silver Institute. Beside each company name is the country where its primary operations are located and its total silver production (millions of ounces).

KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. (Poland) - 41.0

KGHM is a primary copper producer operating three mines based in Poland. The Lubin mine averages only 1.1 percent copper, but a reported 65 grams per ton of silver. The company's silver is refined and sold in the form of bullion and granulate and is registered under the KGHM HG brand by the London Bullion Market Association and the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre.

Company Profile: KGHM Polska
Company Website: www.kghm.pl

BHP Billiton plc (Australia) - 39.0

BHP Billiton, the world's largest diversified metals producer. The company's Cannington mine in Australia remains the world's single largest source of the metal. BHP Billiton's 39 million ounces accounted for about 5 percent of global mine production during the year. BHP Billiton is also among the world's largest producers of aluminum, copper, manganese, iron ore, uranium, nickel, silver, and titanium minerals.

Company Profile: BHP Billiton
Company Website: www.bhpbilliton.com

Fresnillo plc (Mexico) - 36.9

Formerly a division of the state-run miner Industrias Peñoles, Fresnillo operates three gold and silver mines in Mexico. Although the Fresnillo mine has experienced declining ore grades, it remains the world's second largest primary silver mine. Fresnillo, along with BHP's Cannington mine, are the only two silver mines to produce more than 14 million ounces annually. The company has been listed on the London Stock Exchange since 2008.

Company Website: www.fresnilloplc.com

Goldcorp Inc. (Canada) - 30.5

While Goldcorp is primarily associated with the production of gold, it is also one of the largest and a growing silver producer. Most silver is refined as a co-product from the company's Penasquito gold-silver-lead-zinc mine in Mexico.

Company Website: www.goldcorp.com

Polymetal International plc (Russia) - 26.5

Initially founded in 1998 as JSC Polymetal, Polymetal International is focused on the production of precious metals. Russia's largest silver producer, the company owns 36 licenses to operate in four regions of Russia and Kazakhstan. The company has 297 million ounces of proved and probable silver ore reserves and is listed on the London and Moscow Stock Exchanges.

Pan American Silver Corp. (Canada) - 25.1

Pan American Silver operates seven silver mines in Peru, Mexico, Argentina, and Bolivia. Incorporated as Pan American Energy Corp. in 1979.

Company Website: www.panamericansilver.com

Volcan Compania Minera S.A.A. (Peru) - 22.0

Peru's largest silver producer, Volcan began mining in 1943 and is primarily involved in processing polymetallic ores including zinc, lead, copper, and silver. The company's operations are divided into three economic administrative units: Yauli, Cerro de Pasco, and Chungar. With an average silver ore grade of over 3.5 ounces of silver per ton, Yauli is the largest silver producing unit.

Company Website: www.volcan.com.pe

Compania de Minas Buenaventura S.A.A. (Peru) - 18.3

Buenaventura is Peru's largest publicly-traded metals company and largest holder of mining rights in the country. The company's core asset is the Uchucchacua mine. At an altitude of over 4,000 meters above sea level, Uchucchacua produced 11.26 million ounces of silver in 2012, making it the fourth largest silver mine in the world. The mine has been operational since 1975 and is characterized by a zinc-lead-silver bearing ore.

Company Website: www.buenaventura.com/

Coeur d’Alene Mines Corp. (USA/Mexico) - 18.0

Although headquartered in the USA, Coeur d'Alene Mines operates mines are in Mexico, Bolivia, Australia and the USA. The company's most productive asset is its Palmarejo mine in Mexico, which ranks as the world's sixth largest silver mine, producing 8.24 million ounces. According to Coeur d'Alene, cash operating costs at Palmarejo were only US $1.33 per ounce of silver. Palmarejo, along with the San Bartolomé mine in Bolivia and Rochester mine in Nevada, all produce silver and gold in doré form, which is refined using third-party smelters and refiners in Mexico, Switzerland, Australia, Germany, China, and the United States.

Company Website: www.coeur.com

Southern Copper Corp. (USA/Mexico/Peru) - 13.6

Silver and gold are produced in precious metal plants from anodic mud recovered in Southern Copper's electrolytic plants. The company's largest silver assets are operated by its Mexican underground mining unit (IMMSA). Seventy-five percent of Southern Copper Corp.'s ownership is held by the Mexican mining conglomerate Grupo México. The company ranks among the world's largest producers of copper, silver, molybdenum, and zinc.

Company Website: www.southernperu.com