According to the U.S. Geological Survey (minerals.usgs.gov/ds/2005/140/silver.pdf), silver mine production has not increased much over this decade, although Jon Nadler recently reported that mine production was higher by 3% from 2009 over 2008 levels. Total silver "production"- which includes other sources besides mining- has been increasing over the past several years, but this production still represents about 25 billion dollars (26,000 tonnes or so). I hate to sound cavalier, but 25 billion dollars is NOTHING in our present debt-based, derivative saturated global economy. I might also point out that both Ted Butler and Michael Maloney interpret U.S. Geological Survey material to mean that silver mine production will begin DECREASING, not increasing over the next ten and twenty years. So the ability to ramp up mine production in order to help knock down the price (as was the case in the 1980s), may not be in the cards this time around. The two metals we will run out of first in the earth's crust are silver and then gold, and for anyone familiar with the numerous industrial uses for silver, it may not be the case that the industrial need of a certain amount of silver (as in some electronics) will decline by as much this time as thirty years ago in response to higher prices.
And so, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it looks like we are on the cusp of a new investment mania brought about by people younger than the usual gold or silver bug (with all due respect to my elders) and who live outside the traditional sources of economic power in the West. But we've seen this kind of thing before: human beings don't like to buy things that are cheap and undervalued. People like to buy things that are expensive, hot, and "all the rage." That is just the way the human investing herd operates. Jim Puplava, nearly ten years ago, began advocating that people buy silver by the 1000 ounce bar, I believe. I don't need to tell you what a great idea this was. Mr. Puplava referred to silver as a sleeping giant, and this is of course true. But the real reason silver is a sleeping giant is because the PEOPLE are a sleeping giant. And a case can be made that this sleeping giant is waking up to rediscover exactly what constitutes its money.