, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 93-103

The contemporary Asian silver cycle: 1-year stocks and flows

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Abstract

The stocks and flows of silver throughout the Asian economy for 1997 have been quantified, with major flows examined over their entire life cycle, including mining, production, fabrication, and manufacture, product use, and waste management. By compiling the findings of 11 country-level material flow analyses, a regional analysis was created. The reliability and availability of the data varied, with the most confidence given to the earlier life stages and the most uncertainty existing later. Overall, Asia is a net importer of silver, requiring nearly 7000 Mg of silver in 1997. Approximately 2200 Mg Ag are mined, and production waste totals about 640 Mg Ag. The flow of silver into use equals 9900 Mg Ag, with a considerable build-up of 7100 Mg Ag entering in-use stock. Silver waste sent directly to the environment, in addition to landfilled waste, totals 1600 Mg Ag. Much variation exists when examining country-level silver flows on a per capita basis. India and Thailand’s fondness for silver jewelry greatly increases their silver flows into use and in-use stock. Japan’s high overall consumption reflects its high GDP per capita. Regionally, a significant potential exists to tap the silver contained in the in-use stocks and to enhance the recycling rates.