This is a long video interview with Rick Rule of Sprott Global Resource Investments.  It is well worth watching all the way through. There is a huge amount of really good information here.



According to


Kochi, Dec. 13:

There has been a steep increase in the inflow of gold from the Gulf region through the legal channel via Cochin International Airport this month, according to Customs officials.

While the gold imported through the legal channel during September this year was merely 3.26 kg, the smuggled gold seized from passengers during the same period was 20 kg.

On the other hand, the gold imported through the legal channel from December 1 to 11 was 61.64 kg, for which duty collected was Rs 1.61 crore. There has been no seizure of smuggled gold during the same period, a press release said.

Out of the 11.21 kg of smuggled gold seized during November, 10.98 kg was seized from 54 Sri Lankan nationals who had concealed 56 grams to 600 grams of crude gold in their persons, Deputy Customs Commissioner, S.A.Z. Navaz said in the statement.

While the gold smuggling is down, it remains a problem because of the huge premiums imposed by the Indian government. The Indian thirst for physical gold is powerful, despite prices and punishments for smuggling trying to slake it. The gold consumption has also increased to silver acquisition  in India. Is this a de facto bifurcation of the paper and physical metals markets?
When you include China’s importation of gold, It is clear the flow of wealth is from the West to the East. Is precious metal smuggling unique to India or will it spread to other countries? Looks like we could be witnessing the beginning of a trend. Time will tell.

Just five countries were responsible for more than half of all the silver produced in 2012. Silver-mining production increased by 30 million ounces or 3.96% to a record 787 million ounces in 2012, up from 757 million the year before. (1)  Much of the increase was a result of silver being extracted as a by-product of mining for other metals especially lead and zinc. (2) The following five countries produced a total of 492.4 million ounces of silver, or 62.57% of the total.


Number 5 – Russia 45.0 million ounces

 flag map of russia edit 555px 300x177 The Top Five Silver Producing Countries

Russia narrowly beat out Poland for the fifth spot in the top five silver producing countries, despite the fact that Poland is the home base of the biggest silver-producing company in the world and is thought to contain the second largest silver reserves in the world. (3) Russia increased silver production 15% from the previous year. (4)  Its production represents 5.7% of the total world silver production. Polymetal International continues to be Russia’s largest silver producer, responsible for a total of 20.5 million ounces in 2012. (4)  The majority of Russian silver fields are located in the eastern part of the country, primarily in the Magadan and Chukotka regions. Russia has 102 silver fields with the average grade of fine silver in ore – 100 grams per ton. Dukatskoy field, which is located in the Magadan region, remains the largest silver field in Russia. (4)  Polymetal International controls most of the silver production in the Magadan region, while its main competitor, wealthy business tycoon, Roman Abramovich, controls the majority of silver-mining in the Chukotka region. (4)



Number 4 – Australia 56.9 million ounces

 aussieflagmap 300x155 The Top Five Silver Producing Countries

Australia’s silver-production was 25.4% greater than Russia’s. Australia, with 56.9 million ounces, represented 7.2% of the total world silver production in 2012. (2)  Australia’s silver is mostly produced from a silver-bearing lead mineral, called galena, with lesser amounts produced as a by-product from copper and gold mining(5). Silver mines are located in four of the six Australian States and the Northern Territory. (6)  The State of Queensland boasts largest number of silver mines in Australia. Queensland is also home to the largest lead and silver mine in the world, the Cannington Mine. (7)  The Cannington Mine is wholly owned and operated by BHP Billiton, a leading developer of natural resources and producer of commodities with worldwide operations. (8)


Number 3 – Peru 111.3 million ounces

 flag map of peru 555px 207x300 The Top Five Silver Producing Countries

Peru’s silver production was nearly twice as much (95.6% greater) than Australia, with 111.3 million ounces total for 2012. (3)  Peru produced 14% of the world’s silver. Despite this increase over the previous year’s total of 110 million ounces, Peru slipped in the world standings, down to third place. Peru has been on slow slide since it was last number one in silver production in 2009 with a total of 123.9 million ounces. (9)  Between 2014 and 2016, silver output is seen by the bank (Scotiabank in Peru) rising about 9.0% a year in Peru, as some new and expanded projects dedicated to silver production come on line, and as a byproduct of mines dedicated to producing other minerals. (10) Some of the world’s top silver producing companies have operations in Peru including BHP Billiton, and Pan American Silver. (9) Production is forecast to increase this year at several silver mines including: Compania de Minas Buenaventura SAA’s Uchucchacua silver mine; Volcan Compania Minera’s Chungar mine; and Xstrata PLC’s Antapaccay mine. (10) Peru’s mining sector has seen its share of criticism based on illegal mining, (11) ecological devastation of the Amazon Rain Forest, (12) and forced labor. (13)  These activities are primarily associated with gold and copper mines. Organized protests in recent years have also been a major concern of the mining industry in Peru. (14)


Number 2 – China 117.0 million ounces

 china map The Top Five Silver Producing Countries

In 2012, for the first time China surpassed Peru to become the second-largest producer of silver in the world. (3) China’s production was only 5% greater than Peru, with China responsible for 14.9% of the world’s production of silver. Production was up 12.5% from the previous year’s total of 104 million ounces. (15) Major silver mining companies working in China include Silver Dragon Resources (16) and Silvercorp Metals, (17) both of which are Canadian-based multinational corporations. Silvercorp Metals operates multiple mines throughout the country, including four in the silver-lead-zinc rich Ying Mining District located in the central province of Henan. (18)



Number 1 – Mexico 162.2 million ounces

 mexico flag map 300x204 The Top Five Silver Producing Countries

Silver production in Mexico increased 6 percent in 2012, up from 153 million ounces in 2011. (3)  This is the third year in a row that Mexico has been the top silver producing country, since unseating Peru in 2010. (19)  Mexico’s was responsible for 20.6% of world production. Mexico’s production was 38.6% greater than China’s in 2012. Goldcorp’s Penasquito mine, where silver is mined as a by-product of gold, lead, and zinc, was integral to the jump in Mexico’s total production. (20)  Fresnillo, a Mexico-based precious metals company is the largest primary silver producer in the world. With multiple assets currently operating, the company’s total proven and probable reserves is 497.96 million ounces. (21)

Four of the 25 largest silver producing mines in the world are located in Mexico and three of them just began producing in the last six years. (22)  Mexico is the pinnacle of the silver-mining world. This country is host to massive silver belts, including the infamous Sierra Madre belt that flanks the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range. Spain ran its empire for hundreds of years on Mexican silver.It is believed that about one-third of all silver mined in the history of the world has come from Mexico. The mining industry continue to explore and their discoveries have great economic consequences, as witnessed by 50%+ production growth over the last decade. (23)



There’s been very little change since 2010 in the top five silver producing countries. The biggest surprise is the falling of Chile out of the top five, down to number eight and just above the United States. The biggest declines in production were seen in the U.S. and Chile, which saw a combined fall of 7.4 million ounces. (15)  Russia and China continue to make steady gains in silver production, but Mexico will be tough to catch anytime in the near future.


Please Note: This article was first published at


























These are ten things I’ve learned through stacking silver, but they can all be applied to other facets of life.

  1. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

When I first started stacking silver seriously, I got carried away. I made some mistakes. I didn’t do enough research and I ended up doing foolish things like buying slabbed bullion coins off of the cable TV shopping channel. I paid too much for too little. I had the right idea, the best of intentions; but I didn’t know enough. What was worse, it took me a while to figure out that I didn’t know enough. Now I know a lot more than I did when I first started, but I recognize I can always learn more. I try to learn and share my knowledge and experience with others. Hopefully I can educate some younger stackers who can learn from my mistakes.

  1. All that shines is not silver

This is basically the slightly less expensive lesson of “all that glitters is not gold.” There are counterfeit coins and bars out there. You need to be careful. Buying from reputable dealers is the best way avoid counterfeit pieces. Learn what the differences are between the fakes and the genuine article. There is a lot of information online, educate yourself. Don’t be shy about using a magnet or testing the weight and measuring dimensions of a piece.

  1. Treasure can be found in the most unlikely of places

There are all kinds of stories out there about people finding silver in thrift shops, at garage sales, or flea markets. Some people get rolled coins from banks and hunt through them to look for silver. Some people go out on the weekends and metal detect. And some really lucky souls spend some Federal Reserve Notes and may get a silver dime or quarter back in their change. Pay attention! Keep your eyes open. You never know where or when you may come across some cheap or even free silver.

  1. It’s what’s on the inside that counts

I was trying to figure out a catchier way to say “don’t judge a book by its cover” except with coins, but nothing sounded right. But I digress, the 1964 and 1965 U.S. quarters and dimes look nearly identical on the front and back. But looking at their rims, and you can see which is silver, without even looking at their dates. This was done on purpose, so the public didn’t start to hoard the silver coins. Always look beyond the surface to see if something is truly valuable.

  1. Sometimes higher premiums are worth it

Premiums get a bad reputation in the stacking community, and there are some pieces that have ridiculous prices above spot. But everyone from the miners to the refiners, to the mint, and the dealers have to make a profit before you as a consumer can purchase anything. So some premium is always to be expected. In addition, some items that were low mintages can have a collector value beyond the metal content. Its analogous to buying a luxury car over an economy model. They are both modes of transportation. You spend more on the luxury model, but its resale value will also be higher.

  1. Barter can be a viable economic alternative

I’ve read stories about people who have traded silver for everything from ammunition, guns and cars. Some folks even sell their labor in exchange silver. There were some recent posts on reddit about someone trading Magic the Gathering game cards for gold and a heat exchanger for silver and homemade provisions. There is even a section on craigslist for barter, and many of those people are looking to be paid in silver or gold. Its not an overwhelming amount of people, but they are out there.

  1. People stack silver for different reasons, and they are all right

Stacking silver can be an extremely private activity. Everyone does it for their own personal reasons. They should do what works best for them and their particular situation.

  1. The government hates competition

“Don’t Steal- The Government Hates Competition” is a quote from former Congressman Ron Paul’s book End the Fed. The government showed how much it hates competition when it shut down the alternative currency the Liberty Dollar and later charged and convicted the founder with “making, possessing, and selling his own currency”. Tons of gold and silver were seized, and a shockwave was sent through the stacking community. Consider yourself warned, you don’t have the same rights the government says it has.

  1. Those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it

Here I will give the full quote from George Santayana’s The Life of Reason:

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

No empire lasts forever. No fiat currency lasts forever. Precious metals, real estate, and labor always retain some value.

  1. If you don’t hold it, you don’t own it

This is the main silverbug precept. Taking physical possession of your assets is your right; it is your duty; it is your responsibility. Anything that you don’t have under your personal control can be taken away from you without a fight. The fight to retain what you already have is far easier to win than the fight to regain what has already been taken.

I’ve learned quite a bit since I started investigating precious metals. I think it’s made me a sadder but wiser man.

Please Note: I first published this article at

Please Note: This article was first published at

Should we trust what Goldman Sachs is saying about gold?

Should we even care what Goldman Sachs is saying?

Recently, Goldman Sachs, one of the premier investment banks in the world, announced to investors that gold prices would be dropping and that selling gold and other precious metals would be a “slam dunk.” (1) But just six days after this announcement Gold futures for December delivery added 0.7 percent on the Comex. In addition, silver futures for December delivery rose 0.4 percent; platinum futures for January delivery increased 0.6 percent; and palladium futures for December delivery climbed 0.3 percent (2).

So what happened?

Well earlier this year, in April, Goldman Sachs made a very similar call to sell gold, specifically the Gold ETF (GLD). At the end of August the details of the second quarter holdings were released showing that while Goldman Sachs was telling its clients to sell, the investment bank was buying into the Gold ETF to the tune of a record 3.7 million shares of GLD. This buy made Goldman the ETF’s 7th largest shareholder(3).

Why would Goldman Sachs clearly instruct investors to do one thing and act to do the opposite?

Perhaps this is because Goldman is aware that outside of the United States gold is being accumulated. The central banks of Europe (specifically Italy, France, and Germany) don’t plan to sell their gold holdings(4). In addition, as pointed out previously gold fever has broken out in the world’s second largest economy, China. China’s consumption of gold is more than double that of the United States and it, like many developing countries, is an advocate for “the return to increased gold reserves in its central bank” (5).

But maybe I’m being paranoid here. Or maybe not.

How is Goldman’s track record regarding gold recommendations?

Let’s go back to November 2007 when the investment bank previously advised to sell gold. According to Mark O’Byrne (

On November 29, 2007, Goldman recommended that investors sell gold in 2008 and it named the strategy as one of its ‘Top 10 Tips’ for the year. Gold subsequently rose nearly 6.4% in December 2007 alone – from $783.75/oz to $833.92/oz. Gold then rose another 5.8% in 2008 – from $833.92/oz at the close on December 31, 2007, to close at $882.05/oz on December 31, 2008. Gold rose 12.2% in the 13 months after Goldman’s sell gold call. Gold then rose 23.4% in 2009, 27.1% in 2010, 10.1% in 2011 and 7% in 2012.(6)

Goldman’s prediction ended up being abysmally wrong and potentially cost their clients, and the public-at-large significant amounts of money because of it. Goldman slashed its projected gold price 8.6% from $810/oz to $740/oz on a 12 month basis. By the end of 2008, gold closed at $882.05/oz – more than 19% above Goldman’s prediction.

But these could all just be innocent mistakes, right?

Maybe we should ask Carmen Segarra.

Who in the world is Carmen Segarra, you ask?

Good question. Carmen Segarra is a former senior bank examiner for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. She is a former bank examiner because she was recently fired from the Fed. She is suing the Fed for wrongful termination. Ms. Segarra contends that she was fired after refusing to alter her findings during a critical examination of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. As was reported in Reuters:

The former employee, Carmen Segarra, said that in her seven months of examining Goldman’s legal and compliance divisions, she found the bank did not have policies to prevent conflicts of interest as required by regulation, a conclusion that might have caused a downgrade of the Wall Street bank’s regulatory rating. (7)

It should be noted that Ms. Segarra’s findings focused on three specific controversial transactions related to Solyndra, Capmark and the merger of El Paso and Kinder Morgan, and had nothing to do specifically with precious metal policies. But Ms. Segarra’s lawyer said in an interview that “Goldman executives in charge of conflicts told Segarra and other Fed examiners that they did not have a firmwide conflicts policy” (7). So it is possible that conflicts of interest could exist throughout Goldman Sachs and not just in the specific areas that Ms. Segarra was investigating.

To answer the questions I started this article with:

Should we care what Goldman Sachs is saying?

Yes, absolutely. Anytime a major investment bank makes a statement of this type we should all pay attention.

Should we trust what Goldman Sachs is saying?

Look to the evidence. I think this is a case where actions speak louder than words.









Please Note: This article was originally published at

The First in an Occasional Series

In the six-thousand year history of humans valuing silver, there are two periods that could be called true turning points. Events that forever changed history and the value and the use of silver. The first was the discovery and subsequent colonization of the Americas, and the second was the advent of the Industrial Revolution.

While silver was well know in the ancient world, its use has been documented archaeologically (as well as through historical records) from Dynastic China and Vedic India, to Pharonic Egypt and especially in the Greek City-States and Roman Empire. Production of silver was limited to the available geographic distributions, and the prevailing technologies of the times. These technologies relied mostly on human labor and changed very slowly over the first five-thousand years.

With Columbus’ successful voyages to the Americas, Spain gained the first and greatest foot hold in what would come to be called Latin America. Silver (and gold) deposits were located and mined from: Bolivia, Columbia, Peru, and Mexico. Spain dominated precious metals production from the end of the fifteenth through the beginning of the nineteenth centuries. Some estimates say that from 1500 to 1800 Bolivia, Peru and Mexico accounted for over 85 percent of world silver production and trade.

Spain’s real de a ocho (aka piece of eight or Spanish Dollar) became the de facto world currency during this time period, partially because of the near monopoly they had on silver mining, and partially on the other sovereign nations of Europe debasing their own currencies. The Spanish Dollar was even legal tender in the United States until 1857.

Spain lost dominance as the Spanish Empire broke apart through revolution in its colonies and wars with other nations.

As the sun set on the Spanish Imperial silver, the Industrial Revolution began in earnest. The new technologies begat by the revolution provided the second great leap forward in silver production. Major breakthroughs included steam-powered drilling, hydraulic pumps for dewatering mines, and increased haulage with the improvements in transportation including steamships, canal construction and, most importantly the railroad locomotive. Breakthroughs in mining techniques also enabled silver to be separated from other ores allowing larger volumes of ore that contained silver to be exploited.

These types of advances coincided with newly located silver deposits in countries including: Canada, Australia, and the United States especially with the discovery of the Comstock Lode in Nevada. Silver production grew worldwide from 40 to 80 million troy ounces annually by the 1870s. Silver production over the last twenty years of the 19th century increased to a total of nearly 120 million troy ounces annually. Additional deposits located in Eastern Europe, Australia, and Central America amplified world silver production. Between 1900 and 1920, world silver production reached nearly 190 million troy ounces annually.

The future of silver production may lie in combing these two time-tested strategies; locating new deposits, and utilizing the latest technologies. Two previously unexplored areas for new deposits could include near-Earth asteroids and the floors of the Earth’s oceans. If the technology needed for deep sea and space exploration becomes cheap enough, and the value of the silver and other ores continue to increase, then ventures of this sort may not just be science fiction.

Please Note: This article was first published at

While all silverbugs have some things in common, not everyone who is into silver is into it for the same exact reasons. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list and some people may fall into more than one category. Here are eight of the most common type of silver enthusiasts:

The Collector

The silver collector probably started out as a coin collector. They appreciate, not just the metal value, but also the numismatic or collector value. They enjoy the rarity of mintage, and can often name all the years when a type of coin was produced. They may specialize in coins from a specific country, or may enjoy foreign and domestic silver. Depending on how long they’ve been collecting, they probably have a number of officially graded and slabbed items. And they will be the first to tell you never to clean your coins. Collectors are more likely than not to sell small parts of their collection to fund new purchases, or else trade with other collectors to fill the gaps in their inventory. They may belong to coin clubs, frequent coin shows, and be on a first name basis with their local coin shop owner. Collectors may being more willing than most to pay larger premiums for items, figuring the collector value will appreciate and add to the over all value of a piece.

The Stacker

The silver stacker is all about getting the biggest, shiniest stack. They tend to stay away from junk silver and fractional silver leaning toward five or ten troy ounce bars. The smallest denomination they acquire is typically one troy ounce’s (be they coins, rounds or bars). Stackers tend to find something they like and stick with it. They don’t usually diversify. They may like to show off their stacks. They try to find the lowest premiums, and if they order from online resources may look free shipping/minimum order deals.

The Hobbyist

The silver hobbyist is probably the most laid back type of silver enthusiast. As the designation implies, hobbyists treat acquiring silver like a hobby. They don’t obsessively check the spot price, nor are they on a first name basis with their local coin shop owner. They tend to buy silver irregularly, and may buy whatever happens to catch their eye at a particular time. Hobbyists may favor buying what is new or novel at the moment. This can include latest releases of government bullion, and new privately minted rounds and bars. They tend not to mind premiums or shipping charges, but they do expect prompt delivery and excellent customer service.

The Saver

The silver saver considers their silver to be a home bound savings account. Savers are always on the lookout for deals and may turn to places like Craigslist or ebay looking to score as close to spot as they can. Some savers may have gotten started working retail and checking their register drawer for silver. Some may even have gotten into coin roll hunting. Savers may not ever sell their savings unless they really need to do so.

The Hedger

The silver hedger is similar to the saver, but more aggressive in amassing a hoard. They tend to have a better understanding of economics and look to silver (and potentially other precious metals) as a hedge or protective barrier against inflation. The hedger is most likely to use a strategy such as dollar cost averaging to limit their risk and exposure. Hedgers are always on the lookout for good deals, and lean towards finding the best price for the metal content, and not necessarily care about what particular types coins or bars they are accumulating.

The Investor

Silver investors treat silver just like any another financial instrument. Along with their stocks, bonds, and other commodities, silver is sought at the lowest possible price, and could be sold when the price rises so that a decent profit can be realized. Though many investors look at silver as long-term investments. Silver investors may or may not ever have physical possession of their silver. They are just as likely to turn to “paper silver” contracts or utilize precious metals backed “Exchange Traded Funds” (ETFs). Like the silver hedger, the investors may have a better understanding of economics; but unlike hedgers (and others) they don’t necessarily believe in the silverbug credo “If you don’t hold it, you don’t own it.” Investors care more about spot price and profit potential than the aesthetic aspects of silver which may appeal to other types of silver enthusiasts.

The Speculator

Silver speculators are somewhat like the silver investors, except they are not in it for the long haul. The most famous modern silver speculators were the Hunt Brothers of Texas, who attempted to corner the silver market through leveraged margin buying on the COMEX in 1980. Silver speculators almost never have physical possession and rely entirely on paper contracts and ETFs. They look to make quick profits, and may move in and out of the market fluidly. Speculators maybe be partially responsible for the perceived disconnect between paper and physical silver values.

The Prepper

Preppers stockpile silver along with ammunition, canned food, water, medical supplies, fuel, and anything else that may prove useful after a major disaster, governmental fall, or financial collapse. Preppers tend to like 90% junk silver, and government bullion or privately minted fractional silver. They don’t mind paying something of a premium for their silver, because they may plan to use it as a supplement to a barter economy. The believe their fiat currency won’t be worth the paper its printed on. They may store their silver in their gun safe, or may have it strategically buried on their property.

So what kind of silverbug are you?  As for me, my designation has evolved through the years.   I started as a saver from my days working as a cashier in a supermarket.  As time marched on, and I learned more, I became a hedger.  These days I would say I am part hobbyist and part collector.