Silver mining company shares fell hard Monday, along with the price of the gray metal, on growing doubts that European leaders will be able to solve the continent's sovereign debt and banking crisis and, thus, avoid a recession.

The chief spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble both said Monday that the a European Union meeting on Oct. 23 wouldn't have the detailed plan for rescuing banks and keeping other countries besides Greece from defauling.

That knocked down stocks and the euro, but gold declined only slightly.

However, silver for December delivery, the most actively traded Comex contract, plunged 2.5 percent.

That drop, though, was dwarfed by the drop in silver mining companies. In midday trading, Great Panther Silver Ltd. tumbled 6.9 percent, Silvermetals Inc. and Hecla Mining Co. both plunged 5 percent, Silver Standard Resources Inc. fell 4.4 percent and Endeavour Silver Corp. lost 4.8 percent.