Kennecott Copper Corporation (Alaska)
Kennecott Copper Corporation (Alaska)
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|Company||Kennecott Copper Corporation
|Certificate Type||Capital Stock
|Date Issued||October 17, 1941 (orange)
November 22, 1935 (green)
|Printer||American Bank Note Company
12" (w) by 8" (h)
||Show the exact certificate you will receive|
The chain of events that would lead to Kennecott's founding began in 1901. With financial backing from the Havemeyer family, a young mining engineer named Stephen Birch acquired mining rights on a sizeable chunk of promising copper property near the Kennicott Glacier in Alaska (the difference in spelling between the glacier and the company was the result of a clerical mistake). Birch returned East to seek additional investors in the venture, and was introduced by the Havemeyers to J. P. Morgan and to members of the Guggenheim family the following year.
At that time, the Guggenheims were the most powerful force in the industry, controlling the vast majority of copper reserves and nearly all of the smelting capacity in the western United States. These two financial giants formed the Kennecott Mines Company to develop mining operations on the claims purchased from Birch, and Birch was named general manager of the organization. In 1907, Morgan and the Guggenheims, calling themselves the Alaska Syndicate, purchased the Alaska Steamship Company, a large fishing fleet, the Beatson Copper Company of LaTouch Island, Alaska, and, most importantly, 200 miles of right-of-way on which they completed a $25 million railroad that led to the copper mine. The Alaskan ore proved to be very rich in copper, and with the railroad and shipping line in place to transport the ore to civilization, the operation was quite profitable for the syndicate.
The mine at Kennicott, however, appeared to contain only about 20 years' worth of copper ore. In addition, the high cost of building the Copper River and Northwestern Railroad had required the sale of millions of dollars in stocks and bonds. In 1915, in order to both dilute the railroad's cost and find new ventures for the capital produced by the Alaskan mine, Kennecott Copper Corporation was incorporated out of the various financial interests involved, with Stephen Birch as President.
The Guggenheims were by this time already actively working copper mines in Chile and Utah. Upon Kennecott's creation, they decided to merge their Braden Copper Company property in Chile, as well as 25 percent of the Utah Copper Company, into Kennecott, concentrating on the smelting end of the industry as the family's primary business interest. These moves gave Kennecott possession of Braden's El Teniente, the world's largest underground mine, in the Chilean Andes. In 1936 Kennecott acquired the remainder of Utah Copper Company and its huge Bingham copper pit, which would become the heart of Kennecott's operations for decades to come.
The Bingham pit was developed by Daniel Cowan Jackling, the metallurgical engineer who pioneered the mass mining of low-grade ores from open pit mines. Jackling also used his revolutionary methods at mine locations in Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico, all of which were eventually bought by Kennecott.
By 1952, Kennecott was easily the biggest copper producer in the United States; 46 percent of the nation's primary copper output was produced by Kennecott that year. With addition of the Braden mine in Chile, the company accounted for about 25 percent of the entire copper production of the free world.
Kennecott became a subsidiary of BP Minerals in 1987, when BP purchased an outstanding minority interest in Standard Oil in June 1989.
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