Silver mining company shares rose Thursday even though the price of silver itself was had only gained about 0.4 percent.

Both silver prices and the shares of companies that mine the gray metal were higher after German lawmakers Thursday approved by a surprisingly large majority a measure to increase their country's fianncial contribution to bailing out Greece and other weak Eurozone countries.

The 523-85 vote by German lawmakers to strengthen the European Financial Stability Facility in effect increased Germany's guarantees of the bailout fund to $287 million from $168 million. The EFSF is intended to help recapitalize banks, buy bonds and offer loans.

The vote refreshed thinning optimism that the continent's leaders may finally be on the road to fencing the coming Greek default.

The overwhelming majority in the Bundestag is a good sign and will hopefully mark a step change in German commitment to bringing the spiraling crisis under control, Sony Kapoor, managing director of Re-Define, an economic think-tank, told The Associated Press.

Among rising silver mining company shares were Hecla Mining Co., up 2.3 percent, Fortuna Silver Mines Inc., up 2.8 percent, and Mag Silver Corp., fractionally up.

Silver-backed ETFs also were higher: iShares Silver Trust and Sprott Physical Silver Trust were both up 1.3 percent.