Friday, June 01, 2007

Consumable Silver

An interesting fact about silver is that perhaps the majority of its use has been in consumables. By this I mean it is used in products that it will never be retrieved from. Items like copper wire or jewelry are easily converted back to the base metal, but silver has been used in items that the silver content is so small and the items so spread out that getting that silver back would be next to impossible.

One of its more common uses was in film. Obviously there is much less demand for that now, but think on how many photographs you have. And how many everyone you know has. Now imagine gathering all those photos so they could be burned to retrieve a pounds of silver. Yeah. Isn't going to happen.

Another use that recovering the metal from is a lost cause, and a relatively new use is to coat glass.
Silvered windshields in homes, cars and office buildings reflect away some 70% of the solar energy that would otherwise pass through, thus reducing the load on air conditioners. The U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Star Program has spurred 50% increase in silver-coated glass in past six years, translating to 350 million square feet of glass, or five million ounces of silver per year.

There is more in the pipeline for silver. NanoMarkets, expects the market for silver conductive inks to reach $1.2 billion ($US) by 2014, compared with $176 million in 2007.

Combine that with stock levels that are in continual decline and it says silver is a good investment.