One of the first industrial developments in the region was mining. Beginning with placer mining on the creeks in the area and graduating to hard rock mining, the extraction of gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc from deep in the mountains required large amounts of energy and led to the dramatic development of power infrastructure in the area. The formation of West Kootenay Power and Light in 1896 was based on the need by the mines in Rossland to power the air compressors used underground.