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Cominco's Trail Operations


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Trail Refining & Smelting Complex

Cominco's integrated smelting and refining complex is located at Trail, in southeastern British Columbia.

More than 700,000 tonnes of concentrates are processed at Trail every year, yielding a wide range of metals and related by-products, including refined zinc, lead, silver, gold, cadmium, bismuth, indium, germanium concentrate, germanium dioxide, copper sulphate, copper arsenate, sodium antimonate and a variety of sulphur products and agricultural fertilizers. The two major metals are zinc and lead.

The majority of the zinc and lead concentrates treated at Trail come from the Sullivan mine in Kimberley, B.C., and the Red Dog mine in Alaska. The operation also purchases concentrates from non-Cominco mines, located mainly in the northwestern United States and South America. Refined metal is shipped primarily to customers in Canada, the United States and Pacific Rim countries.


Aerial View of Trail

Smelting and refining have been carried out at Trail since the turn of the century. Over the years, the process and plants have been modified as technology improved. In the late 1970s, the company began an extensive modernization program at Trail to make the operation one of the cleanest and most efficient in the world. Since then, nearly a billion dollars has been spent on a new zinc electrolytic and melting plant, the world's first zinc pressure leaching plant, new purification systems, a higher-capacity cadmium plant and a new lead smelter employing state-of-the-art technology.

The lead smelter - using the Kivcet smelting process - and a slag fuming plant were completed in 1997 and started up. The smelter has a capacity of 120,000 tonnes per year, restoring Trail's lead production to near historical levels. In addition, a series of projects in Zinc Operations have boosted zinc capacity production to 290,000 tonnes per year from 272,000 tonnes.

Zinc Flow-Sheet: The flow-sheet for Zinc Operations at trail is available, along with descriptions of each stage of production.

Lead Flow-Sheet: The flow-sheet for the Lead Operations is also available.

In addition, some information about zinc and lead is online, including end uses and history.



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