The decreasing price of gold has gotten a lot of attention among investors in recent weeks. The price of silver has received fewer headlines, but it's also dropped. That price has real economic impact in north Idaho, which has one of the richest silver deposits in the country.
There's not much wiggle room when silver drops down to $22 an ounce. That's only a little more than it costs the Galena Mine near Kellogg, Idaho, to get the silver out of the ground. Owner U.S. Silver has placed a hiring freeze on the mine and plans to cut costs by $1 million this year.
Over in Montana, the company decided to close a gold mine because it can't turn a profit at the current price.
Gold and silver are closely linked says David Morgan. He runs a silver investor newsletter out of Spokane. Like gold, silver became an attractive investment after the recession.
“It's primarily the people's metal," Morgan explains. "It always has been and that's what drives the market.”
But Morgan says says silver has something gold doesn't: industrial properties. Specifically in technology. The investor market may be uncertain, but Morgan predicts our need for cellphones and tablets isn't going away.
On the Web:
Current gold prices - Kitco Metals
Silver price chart - Monex Precious Metals