- Battery-powered electric vehicles are set to be a significant demand driver for silver in coming years
- The expected increase in annual silver demand from the electric vehicle sector over the next four years is estimated to equal 10% of 2021’s global silver production
- Excellon Resources is currently executing ongoing precious metals projects in Mexico, Idaho and Germany
- The company recently revealed that its Mexican operations resulted in a 37% YoY increase in silver production as of the fourth quarter of 2020
Fifty grams is slightly more than the weight of an average golf ball, yet it also represents the estimated silver content contained within a battery electric vehicle (“BEV”) (https://ibn.fm/IzGx9). Silver has historically enjoyed widespread usage within the automotive sector, a reflection of its superior electrical conductivity properties, excellent oxide resistance and durability under harsh operating environments. With electric vehicles rapidly rising as a proportion of global automotive sales, the sector is transforming into a powerful demand center for silver, with The Silver Institute forecasting that the automotive industry will absorb nearly 90 million ounces of silver annually by 2025, a significant increase from this year’s anticipated demand of 61 million ounces (1,900t). To put that figure into context, the expected annual demand from the electric vehicle sector is expected to increase over the next four years to over 10 percent of annual global silver production, based on 2021 projections (https://ibn.fm/ZuQCf). The surge in demand should be particularly advantageous for companies such as Excellon Resources (TSX: EXN) (NYSE American: EXN) (FSE: E4X2), a silver and base metals producer with precious metal projects in Mexico, Idaho and Germany.
Silver’s unique properties make it difficult to replace across a wide and growing array of automotive applications; furthermore, and unlike platinum group metals, the use of silver is not concentrated within a single automotive component like a catalytic converter. Rather, silver components can be found across a myriad of vehicular applications, including reversing cameras, automotive lenses, and fuel management systems, making the precious metal relatively harder to substitute. A recent study carried out by The Silver Institute has estimated the average internal combustion engine (“ICE”) vehicle to consume 15-28 grams (0.5-0.9 ounces) of silver, a figure which would increase to 18-34 grams for hybrid vehicles and to 25-50 grams for the average BEV. Notably, that figure does not take into account ancillary services which also require the use of silver, such as the construction of charging stations and charging points for electric vehicles.
While silver’s longer-term demand outlook looks bright, driven by surging demand from electric vehicle manufacturers as well as from the solar/photovoltaic industry where silver is a key component utilized in the manufacture of solar cells, sustained growth in silver mine production will necessitate further investment to bring earlier stage projects into production, thereby offsetting losses from reserve depletion and grade decline.
Excellon Resources is currently working towards developing a precious metals growth pipeline across a myriad of geographies, including: Platosa, Mexico’s highest-grade silver mine since production commenced in 2005; Kilgore, a high-quality gold development project in Idaho boasting strong economics and significant growth and discovery potential; and an option on Silver City, a high-grade epithermal silver district in Saxony, Germany. Excellon has seen particularly promising results from its Platosa Mine located in Durango, Mexico. Over the course of 2020, the company revealed that its Mexican-based mining operations had resulted in a 37 percent year-over-year increase in silver production, with lead output rising by 32 percent and zine production growing by 19 percent (https://ibn.fm/kQwN4).
Excellon has also updated the market in April 2021 of the results of further underground expansion and exploration drilling at the Platosa Mine, which resulted in the discovery of additional high-grade silver deposits. As per the company’s announcement, further definition and expansion of the Guadalupe North, 623, NE-1 and NE-1S mantos, with results from underground drilling including:
- 1,293 g/t silver equivalent (“AgEq”) over 6.5 metres (618 g/t Ag, 10.1% Pb and 12.0% Zn) in EX21UG565;
- 1,571 g/t AgEq over 4.6 metres (688 g/t Ag, 14.5% Pb and 14.9% Zn) in EX21UG564; and
- 1,031 g/t AgEq over 4.6 metres (359 g/t Ag, 4.9% Pb and 15.9% Zn) in EX20UG522A, including 1,531 g/t AgEq over 1.3 metres (573 g/t Ag, 8.6% Pb and 21.5% Zn).
With rising environmental awareness and a growing transition away from fossil fuels set to drive further growth of both the electric vehicle and photovoltaic sectors, silver demand and price momentum are expected to continue their ongoing rise in the coming future. Through its various projects and ongoing production momentum, Excellon Resources looks well positioned to capitalize on the precious metal’s renaissance.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.ExcellonResources.com.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to EXN are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/EXN
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