At 13,973 feet (4,380m) elevation in the Andes, it is one of the highest cities in the world. It became one of the world's richest silver producing areas after silver was discovered there in the early 1600s. Although the silver was exhausted by the Spanish, it is still an active mining center.
The mine is currently owned by Volcan Compañia Minera who bought it from Centromin when that State owned company was privatised in the 1990s. The last full year's figures (2006) gave combined production from the underground and open pit mines at 3.34 million tons containing 58,300 tonnes of lead, 155,300 tonnes of zinc and 8.5 million ounces of silver though it is not clear whether this is the metal mined or actually recovered. The ore reserve position is healthy, with 40 million tonnes in reserves and over 50 million tonnes in resources. Copper production ceased many years ago though the remains of the old smelter can be seen next to the railroad west of the Colquijirca property.
Cerro de Pasco is often the place where some Peruvian Football teams like Union Minas or Deportivo Wanka play, sometimes criticized for the height of the stadium because of the snow and lack of oxygen.