The Uchucchacua Mine, run by Buenaventura, is not only the largest primary silver mine in Peru, but it is also ranked third in the world. Buenaventura reported that silver output at the Uchucchacua Mine decreased during Q1 2019 due to a contractor strike that lasted 21 days and significant rains. However, silver production at Uchucchacua continued to be weak in April, three months after the strike ended.
As we can see, Uchucchacua’s silver production fell from 4.3 million ounces (Moz) in Q1 2018, to 3.2 Moz in Q4 2018, and further to 1.99 Moz in Q1 2019. And, if we look at the data put out by the Peru Ministry of Energy and Mines, Uchucchacua’s silver production fell another 20% in April 2019 vs. the same month last year. So, there seems to more trouble going on at Uchucchacua than a strike and heavy rains.
If the weakness of silver output continues in the Uchucchacua Mine along with other leading silver mines, we could see global silver production decline again this year to below 840 Moz in 2019. According to the 2019 World Silver Survey, world silver production fell to 856 Moz in 2018, down from a peak of 894 Moz in 2015:
I doubt many silver enthusiasts realize how rich the silver ore grades are in the Uchucchacua Mine. In 2018, the Uchucchacua Mine in Peru produced silver at an average yield of 11.1 ounces per ton (oz/t). The Uchucchacua Mine is one of the largest high-grade silver mines in the world. Now, compare the following silver yields from the top five primary silver mines last year:
Top 5 Primary Silver Mines Average Yield 2018(ounce per ton= oz/t)