The price of silver continued its two-day free fall Wednesday after slowly recovering from December’s deep drop below $5 an ounce. Local mining stocks felt the brunt of the metal’s weakness.
Silver fell nearly 13 cents Wednesday to close at $4.60. That followed Tuesday’s 15-cent drop. Despite high demand for silver, metals analysts have said that light trading and thin margins are contributing to the low prices.
Silver prices that fall near the $4 an ounce level could threaten the economic viability of mines in Idaho’s Silver Valley operated by Coeur d’Alene-based Hecla Mining Co. and Dallas-based Sunshine Mining & Refining Co. The depressed prices also make the reopening of idled silver mines jointly owned by New York-based Asarco Inc. and Coeur d’Alene Mines more unlikely.
Most local mining stocks fell Wednesday: Pegasus Gold Corp. down 13 cents to $10.63; Gold Reserve down 50 cents to $7.38; Hecla down 25 cents to $9.50; Coeur d’Alene Mines down 75 cents to $15.50; Asarco down 25 cents to $28; Sunshine Mining & Refining Co. down 6 cents to $1.63.