There are many factorsto consider when looking at silver companies, fromprices to management, but investorsshould start with some knowledge of the global silver production landscape.

Knowing which countries produce the most silver can help investors understand the logic behind the exploration and development decisions that companies make. For example, high production in a particular countrymight indicate mining-friendly laws or high-grade ore deposits.

In 2016, the world’s top silver-producing country by a long shot was Mexico, witheight others rounding out the list.Read on for a brief overview of those nine nations; production stats arebased on the latest estimates from the US Geological Survey.

1. Mexico

Mine production: 5,600 MT

As mentioned,Mexicowas the world’s largest silver producer last year- its output rose230 MT from 2015 to hit 5,600 MT.The country is home to Fresnillo (LSE:FRES), one of the most productive silver companies in the world. Fresnillo extracts silver and gold at six different mines in Mexico, and has several other projects in various stages of development. The company produced 28.04 million ounces of silver in the first half of 2017, an 11-percent increase from the same time in 2016.

Goldcorp (TSX:G,NYSE:GG) is Mexico’s other large silver producer, and its Penasquito mine posted the second-highest silver production in the world in 2013. Like many silver mines, Penasquito primarily produces gold – silver is often coincident with other resources, and is regularly mined as a by-product. The company recently sold its Camino Rojo gold-silver project in Mexico to Orla Mining (TSXV:OLA).

2. Peru

Mine production: 4,100 MT

In addition to being the world’s second-biggest silver producer, putting out 4,100 MT in 2016, Peru features the world’s largest-known silver reserves. With 120,000 known MT of silver, the country has a massive amount of untapped silver potential that could allow it to move up the rankings in the future.

The majority of Peru’s silver comes from the Antamina mine in Northern Peru. The mine is a joint venture between BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP,NYSE:BHP,LSE:BLT), Glencore (LSE:GLEN), Teck R