Silver-Lead-Zinc Mining & Cominco (2 of 5)


Trail SmelterAt the same time as the CPR was opening its Crowsnest Pass Route, it acquired the Columbia & Western Railway and the smelter at Trail which were both controlled by F. Augustus Heinze. Although at first the CPR was not keen on acquiring a smelter, it soon realized the importance of this facility as a key to the development of the mining industry throughout the Southern Interior. Moreover, the smelter and mines generated enormous amounts of traffic for the railway.

Trail SmelterThe smelter and the mines that were soon acquired became the key to the development of the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada, controlled by the Canadian Pacific Railway. This company, later officially renamed Cominco, was incorporated in 1904. Resources were made available for research and development and new processes for purifying the lead-zinc ores (including the Betts electrolytic process) were installed at the Trail smelter. Originally, the smelter was built to handle copper and silver ores. However, the addition of lead-zinc smelting greatly expanded the operation and eventually its profitability and importance to the mining industry in southern British Columbia.


Archival Photos

B-06598      Trail Smelter (by Chapman), 1895
G-07601      Construction of the O'Hara Furnace Building at the Trail Smelter, Maxwell Photo, c. 1895
B-05046      Trail Smelter, 1895
G-02221      Trail Smelter, 1896
E-00279      The Trail Smelter, 1896
E-00280      Interior of Trail Smelter, 1896
B-05042      Trail Smelter, 1897
B-04919      Trail Smelter, 1929
B-04922      Trail Smelter Showing Gate House, 1929
B-04921      Trail Smelter, 1932
B-05054      Trail Smelter from Warfield Road, July 14, 1939


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