Again FWIW and based on my research, I do believe the following is an accurate portrayal of the PM futures settlement (that market is an Ocean that would devour a minnow like me, so I do not swim there). To open or close a silver futures contract one does not need possess the physical silver. From my studies, precious metal futures are almost never settled by transfer of the actual metal. The settlement is via a fiat currency payment. This settlement allows for big, BIG money to sell short the annual mining production (or more) at any time but usually on an early Monday morning - its called "running the stops" and will take only a few minutes. This size transaction is not uncommon. I personally think this is market manipulation but the government regulators that we pay to protect the market must see it as business as usual. The market action as portrayed in this post sets the market price for precious metals. Lets face it silver is an industrial metal and as such the manufacturers of say solar panels want cheap silver.
This has not been a good year for holding silver, its around $16.50 the toz this afternoon. Silver began the year around $16 and traded between $15.50 and $18.50 the toz. The $40 strike at the QQQQ sure sounds interesting.