To here these stories reported one might think that silver's entire fundamental supply deficit can be erased by a single salvage company.
Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. (OMEX), which last month located a sunken World War II cargo ship laden with silver, said it discovered a shipwreck from World War I that may also contain a consignment of the precious metal.
The SS Mantola, a British vessel sunk by a German submarine on Feb. 9, 1917, was located about 100 miles (161 kilometers) from where the SS Gairsoppa was found last month, Tampa, Florida-based Odyssey said today in a statement. The Mantola, sitting 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) below the surface of the North Atlantic, holds about 600,000 ounces of silver, the company said, citing an insurance claim paid out by the British government.
Odyssey plans to start salvage operations at both ships in 2012. The search for the Mantola was possible because of an early finish at the Gairsoppa, found 300 miles off Ireland’s coast, keeping costs “low,” the company said. The Gairsoppa holds an estimated 7 million ounces of silver, an amount that would be the largest known precious-metal cargo ever recovered from the sea, Odyssey said Sept. 26.
Under salvage contracts with the U.K., Odyssey retains 80 percent of the net silver value recovered. At current prices, the Gairsoppa’s silver is worth about $224 million and Mantola’s is worth about $19 million.