Modernization of Cominco's zinc plant and lead smelter at Trail, British Columbia

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 81, No. 912, 1988

C.A. SUTHERLAND, Cominco Ltd.

Smelting of copper-gold ore from nearby Rossland mines started at Trail in the 1890s. As ore from the Rossland mines became exhausted, lead smelting of hand-sorted galena ore from other British Columbia mines was initiated. With the development of flotation technology for the separation of lead, zinc, and iron sulphides in the first two decades of this century, the large Sullivan orebody at Kimberley, British Columbia, became the foundation for the growth of a major zinc and lead smelter at Trail. Lead smelting began in 1901, electrolytic zinc in 1916, and by 1984, the Trail metallurgical complex had produced 10 million tons of each metal. Its present capacity is 270 000 tonnes per year of zinc and 110 000 tonnes/year of lead. This paper reviews the history of technological changes in the Trail production plants, emphasizing the zinc plant modernization program started in the 1970s, and also the planned introduction of the QSL oxygen lead smelting process in the late 1980s. Lead modernization will increase production capacity to a maximum of 160 000 tonnes per year.
Keywords: Plant technology, Smelters, Cominco, Zinc, Lead, Leaching, Modernization, Roasting, Electro winning.