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13 October 2010
Kennecott Corp first annual report for 1915 shows Braden Mine:
I have copies, or in some cases, original Kennecott Corporation annual reports, from the beginning in 1915 until 1938 when the Alaskan operations were finally closed--all except for Alaska Steamship Company. Here is the 1915 one--the first--showing the initial acquisition of the Kennecott interior properties, the Copper River & Northwestern Railway, Alaska Steamship, Beatson Mines and Braden Copper, plus acquisition of shares in Utah Copper--owner and operator of the Bingham Canyon Mine (pages 6 & 7--click for larger version). This marked the beginning of the mightiest copper corporation of the 20th century. And it all started with that ONE location up the Chitina River along the Kennicott Glacier--named after Robert Kennicott, a naturalist who explored a part of Alaska for the United States upon purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867. Robert Kennicott never saw the Kennicott Glacier, which became the inspiration for the name of the new corporation whose start can be traced to a deal made between a group of a dozen prospectors and Nicolai of Taral--that Ahtna Indian chief who was born the same year that Alaska became an American territory. It was those prospectors headed by a man named McClellan who eventually sold their interests in the claims along Bonanza Ridge to Stephen Birch. It was Stephen Birch who put together the investors, including the Guggenheim Brothers, JP Morgan, Kuhn Loeb Brothers and Stephen's original backer H.O. Havemeyer, who then proceeded to fund the CRNW Railway and the Bonanza Mine that would ultimately bear the name "Kennecott," marking the early beginning of Kennecott Corporation. Kennecott would prove to be one of the best run corporations of its type in the entire world. It has never ceased to amaze me the acquisitions the corporation made that at least on the surface appeared to be incredibly lucky but which could only have been accomplished through incredible skill on the part of Birch and others, whose decisions to purchase these properties quickly catapulted the early investors in that corporation into richness well beyond the dreams of many even to this day. Even if one is to only look at the original Alaskan operations, Kennecott somehow found two copper formations that historically have never seen an equal in Alaska. Those two copper mines together produced more mineral value than the richest of the Alaskan gold districts--ANY of them, including the Nome, Fairbanks or Juneau districts, or even the Klondike gold of the adjacent Yukon Territory. Then there was the Utah Copper Bingham Canyon mine which has been operating almost non-stop for more than a century, and the Braden Mine of Chile--the single richest copper mine ever found which to this day supplies about 20 per cent or more of the world's copper. It is quite a story.