Cominco Ltd.

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Cominco Ltd.

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Cominco Ltd. was one of Canada's major companies engaged in mining, mineral exploration and smelting, primarily of lead and zinc, and a major producer of chemicals and fertilizers. For most of its history, the company name was The Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada Limited. On May 16, 1966 the name was changed to Cominco Ltd. In 2001 Cominco was fully amalgamated into Teck Corporation.

By the end of the life of the company, it was the world's largest producer of zinc concentrate and the fourth-largest zinc metal refiner. It also produced lead, iron, copper, silver, gold, cadmium, bismuth, indium, coal, coke, natural gas and hydro-electric power. While Cominco’s operations and interests were primarily in Canada, the company also operated in the United States, South America, Greenland, Asia and Australia. Cominco’s head office was in Montreal until 1971-1972 when it was moved to Vancouver. For most of its history Cominco’s general office and research centre was located at Trail. Sales offices and exploration offices were located in various Canadian and international locations.

Cominco’s origins can be traced to the period 1890 to 1905, in the Kootenay region of southeastern British Columbia, when small operators began mining, smelting and refining, and constructed the first railways and power plants. In 1898 the Canadian Pacific Railway Company purchased local railway holdings and acquired the British Columbia Smelting and Refining Company, and formed the subsidiary Canadian Smelting Works. In 1906, the CPR amalgamated their interests with the Centre Star and War Eagle companies of Rossland, the Rossland Power Company, and the St. Eugene Company of Moyie. The new company, dating from January 9, 1906, was Canadian Consolidated Mines Limited, and the CPR held the controlling interest. The name was changed on February 14, 1906 to The Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada Limited.

Between 1909 and 1913, the company acquired complete ownership of the Sullivan mine at Kimberley, B.C. from the Federal Mining and Smelting Company. The Sullivan mine would operate for more than 90 years until its ore reserves were exhausted in 2001.

In 1916, with the smelter in Trail expanding and using huge amounts of power, Cominco acquired a controlling interest in West Kootenay Power and Light Company Ltd. to ensure an adequate power supply for war-time demands. The WKPL/Cominco integrated system grew to include numerous hydro-electric generation plants: Lower Bonnington, Upper Bonnington, South Slocan, Corra Linn, Brilliant and Waneta. In 1986-1987, Cominco sold WKPL to UtiliCorp United lnc., based in Kansas City, Missouri.

ln October 1986 Canadian Pacific Limited sold its 52.5 per cent interest in Cominco. A consortium headed by Teck Corporation acquired 31 per cent of the outstanding Cominco shares and an underwriting group headed by Dominion Securities acquired 21.5 per cent for subsequent resale to the public. The consortium, of which Teck controlled 50 per cent comprised Teck Corporation, Metallgesellschaft Canada Limited, and M.l.M. (Canada) lnc. Thus, effective control of Cominco passed from Canadian Pacific Limited to Teck Corporation. On July 19, 2001, Cominco was merged with Teck Corporation.


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KHUGHES 2014-04-11




B.C. Archives, Central Name Authority File

Sound Recording Database SMIDDEV_NA_NAME_AUTHORITY.

Teck (company website)

Industry Canada, Federal Corporation Information

Cominco Ltd. History. International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 37. St. James Press, 2001.
Funding Universe (website)

Columbia Basin Institute. (website)

British Columbia Utilities Commission.

Maintenance notes

Created by: KHUGHES
Authority record/administrative history updated by P. Washington, August 12, 2015.

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