The Global X Silver Miners ETF (ARCA:SIL) aims to provide investors with exposure to a broad range of silver mining companies. Each producer included in the ETF has the potential to significantly benefit from a rising silver price environment, as operating costs are usually fixed and often fairly low. Furthermore, a gap between global demand and supply for silver, which has increased over the past few years and stood at 261.5 million ounces in 2013, combined with strong growth in the industry in emerging markets, makes silver mining companies an attractive option for many investors. The ETF helps investors reduce single-company risk, as well as location-specific risk, by gathering together a variety companies in a range of locations. According to the ETF's website, investing this way rather than in individual companies could also provide more income through dividends. Here's a look at the top five holdings of the Global X Silver Miners ETF as of September 11. Silver Wheaton (TSX:SLW,NYSE:SLW) Silver Wheaton is the largest precious metals streaming company in the world. Being a streaming company means it has the right to purchase silver from high-quality mines around the world through a number of agreements. These purchases are made at low, fixed costs. The company has such agreements for 19 operating mines and several development-stage projects. Silver Wheaton has agreements with miners in Mexico, Sweden, Peru, Canada, Brazil, Chile, Argentina and more countries across the globe. Many of its agreements are for the entire life of the mine. Silver Wheaton comprises 13.06 percent of the Global X Silver Miners ETF's total net assets, at a total market price of more than $30 million.
Fresnillo (LSE:FRES)Fresnillo is the world's leading silver producer, as well as the second-largest gold producer in Mexico. Its history in Mexico dates back to 1887, and the company now has six operating mines, two in development and four at the exploration stage. In total, 2013 saw Fresnillo produce 42.7 million ounces of silver, a record high since its founding. Shares of Fresnillo make up 11.15 percent of the Global X Silver Miners ETF's net assets, representing a total market value of more than $25 million. Fortuna Silver Mines (TSX:FVI,NYSE:FSM) Fortuna Silver Mines operates underground silver mines in Peru and Mexico with extensive exploration properties in those countries as well. The company was founded in 2005 and is already one of the fastest-growing silver producers in Latin America. The company expects to produce 6 million ounces of silver this year, up from 4.6 million ounces in 2013. Silver and gold production for the company have both been on the rise since the time of its founding. It is currently looking to grow its production and the reserves at its current projects, and is examining further exploration and development elsewhere. Fortuna has no long-term debt and its website reports that it is financially stable. Fortuna Silver Mines makes up 5.44 percent of the net assets of the Global X Silver Miners ETF. The ETF holds more than 2 million shares of Fortuna for a market value exceeding $12 million. Tahoe Resources (TSX:THO,NYSE:TAHO) Tahoe Resources' primary focus is the Guatemala-based Escobal mine, which achieved commercial production in January of this year. According to the company's most recent fact sheet, Escobal hosts an indicated silver resource of 367.5 million ounces at an average grade of 422 grams per tonne, along with an inferred silver resource of 36.7 million ounces at an average grade of 254 grams per tonne.
Most recently, in Q2 2014, Tahoe produced 5.8 million ounces of silver at a total cash cost of $5.65 per ounce and an all-in sustaining cost of $8.04 per ounce, net of by-product credits.The Global X Silver Miners ETF holds approximately half a million shares of Tahoe Resources, representing 5.26 percent of its net assets. The shares represent a market value of more than $12 million. Pan American Silver (TSX:PAA,NASDAQ:PAAS) Pan American Silver was founded in 1994 and is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia. It is now the second-largest primary silver mining company in the world, operating seven silver mines across Mexico, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. It recently expanded its La Colorada project, which will increase its silver production from 4.6 million ounces annually to around 7.7 million ounces by 2018. Pan American Silver comprises 4.82 percent of the Global X Silver Miners ETF's net holdings. The ETF holds nearly 1 million shares with a total market value of $11 million. Related reading: Fortuna Reports Solid Q2; Should Exceed 2014 Production Guidance Fortuna's Updated Mineral Resource Estimate for San Jose Boosted by Trinidad North Zone Global X Silver Miners ETF: Top 5 Holdings from Silver Investing News