Silver-Lead-Zinc Mining & Cominco (1 of 5)
Although coal mining was the main reason for building the Crowsnest Pass Route of the Canadian Pacific, the mining and processing of metals was inevitably tied to the railway. Discoveries of lead-zinc deposits near Cranbrook at Kimberley and at Moyie Lake proved to be very important for the railway.
The most important ore deposits along the Crowsnest Route in the East Kootenay were the massive lead-zinc ores at Kimberley. The deposits were staked in 1892 and by the end of the decade some surface exploration had been carried out and several small shafts had been dug. In 1900 the first ore shipments were made to the Hall Mines smelter at Nelson and to the smelter at Trail. The completion of the railway to Kimberley made the large scale development of the deposits possible. The company, known as the Sullivan Group Mining and Smelting Company, was incorporated in the State of Washington in 1895 and registered in British Columbia in 1897.
In 1903, work began on a small smelter at Marysville five miles (8 km) from Kimberley. The smelter was "blown in" early in 1905. Initially a small profit was made but the process did not solve the problems encountered with the Kimberley ores. The difficulties in smelting the Kimberley ores continued because of their zinc content and the smelter closed permanently and the mine was shut down for a short time pending financial restructuring.
Mining Operations at Kimberley and Marysville
A-00973 Marysville Smelter, c. 1900's, (above)
B-05272 Calciner Sheds at Marysville Smelter, c. 1903