In Jim Cook's Archive


Many of the things we’ve written about silver over the last six years should be reviewed from time to time and not forgotten. Most of this commentary is exceedingly bullish. How about this early quote about silver from Ted Butler. “Here we have a vital material, known to all men for all time, literally disappearing before our eyes, both above and below ground. It is a material upon which modern life and rising standards of living are dependent. It is beyond indispensable, it is a miracle metal.”

Is it truly a miracle metal? Certainly silver has properties that make it unique and irreplaceable for industry. Nothing else combines strength with a softness that allows it to be formed and stretched. Nothing conducts electricity as well or is malleable, fatigue resistant, wettable and corrosion resistant. Nothing else has such high tensile strength, is wear resistant, has such a long functional life or is as light sensitive. It endures temperature extremes, conducts heat, reflects light, provides catalytic action, is bactericidal and reduces friction. It alloys and has chemical stability. This list of attributes surely qualifies silver as a miracle metal.

How do these miraculous qualities translate into uses for industry? Silver is the best conductor of electricity. Every computer, server, monitor, cell phone and switch must have silver. Lasers, satellites, high-tech weaponry and robotics all require silver. Digital technology and telecommunications need silver.

Around the house there’s silver in every television, washing machine, wall switch and refrigerator. Conductors, switches, contacts and fuses use silver because it does not corrode or cause overheating and fires. Silver is used heavily in photography and in prints. Meanwhile, new and exotic uses for silver are expanding. Silver achieves the most brilliant polish of any metal and is the best reflector of light, allowing it to be used in mirrors and in coatings for glass, cellophane or metals.

Chemical reactions can be significantly increased by adding silver. Approximately 700 tons of silver are in continuous use in the world’s chemical industry for the production of plastics. They are used to make hundreds of plastic products we use every day.

Batteries are now manufactured with silver alloys. Lead-free silver solder is used heavily for joining materials and producing leak-tight joints. Silver is also widely used in silk-screened circuit paths, membrane switches, electrically heated automobile windows and adhesives.

Because of these new, growing, unanticipated uses of silver, the demand has exceeded production for more than 60 years. This has led to the draw down and consumption of almost all the silver that was mined and accumulated for 5000 years. World inventories in the past half-century show declines of greater than 95%.

With this kind of incredible demand for a metal indispensable to life in a modern civilization, don’t you think you should own some? These are facts, not fantasies, and with China, India and Indonesia coming on stream, billions of people will want modern conveniences that require silver. The demand for silver will not likely relent any time soon. As Ted Butler has said many times, “The fundamentals of silver are so bullish and so compelling that I couldn’t make them up if I tried.”

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