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Incorporated in Canada in 1906, Cominco Ltd. has emerged as a leading integrated zinc and copper producer. With mines in Canada, the United States, Chile, and Peru, Cominco is the world’s largest producer of zinc concentrate as well as the fourth-largest zinc metal refiner. Additionally, Cominco produces lead, silver, gold, germanium, and indium. The company’s head office is situated in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, while it oversees subsidiaries worldwide. Teck Corporation is the largest single shareholder with 44 percent of Cominco’s Common Shares.
The Beginning: 1850-1900
Cominco’s history reaches back to the Gold Rush in the second half of the 19th century. Thousands of placer prospectors flocked to the unexplored wilderness that was later to become the Province of British Columbia. (Placer refers to a gravel deposit containing particles of gold). Although the Gold Rush ended after ten years, it hastened the proclamation of the Colony of British Columbia in 1858 and influenced the development of trails throughout the region.
The newly created trails made it possible for the remaining prospectors to move further afield. Before long, placer gold was discovered in various parts of the Kootenay region in southeastern British Columbia. Soon after, steamboat service along the upper Columbia River made it easier for miners, prospectors, and others to reach the area.
Despite these transportation enhancements, mining activity was limited until the coming of the railways 20 years later. Continue Reading →