DAMS OF THE COLUMBIA BASIN

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Mark Creek Dam

NE OF KIMBERLEY

QUICK FACTS
Mark Creek Dam
Completed: 1912
Operator: Consolidated Mining and Smelting Co. Ltd.
Type: Concrete gravity dam run of river

HISTORY

This dam was built in 1912 to provide power to the Sullivan mine and concentrator mill in Kimberley, run by the Consolidated Mining & Smelting Co. of Canada Ltd. Built on a tributary of St. Mary River, the Mark Creek dam was 15 metres (50 feet) long, 6 metres (20 feet) high across the creek. It diverted the water into a 76 cm (30 in) wood stave pipe to 3 183 cm (72 in) Pelton water-wheels in the compressor house at the mine plant with a head of 55 metres (183 feet). One of the Pelton wheels generated electricity for lighting and the other two produced power for an air compressor. The diverted water was then used at the concentrating-mill for various industrial processes.

Once the concentrator went into operation in 1923 at the Sullivan Mine, the bulk of the energy needs of the mine, mill and surrounding area were supplied by the East Kootenay Power and Light Company's Bull River and Elko plants. Once capacity was reached at these plants Cominco decided that West Kootenay Power and Light would build a high voltage transmission line that across Kootenay Lake to supply the Sullivan Mine with power from its Kootenay River Plants. The line was completed and energized to Kimberley in 1953 and supplied the Bluebell Mine in Riondel and the residents of Creston with electricity as well. The Mark Creek Dam ceased operation when the City rebuilt its water supply system in the early 1990s, though the powerhouse is still standing and is part of the tour conducted by Kimberley's Underground Mining Railway.


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