Daniel Cowan Jackling was founder of the Utah Copper Company and is credited with pioneering and developing the method of processing of low-grade porphyry copper ores. His ore-processing methods have been particularly associated with the development of the Bingham Canyon open-pit copper mine. Jackling was born on 14 August 1869 near Appleton, Bates County, Missouri. He was orphaned by age two, and spent much of his childhood living with different relatives on Missouri farms. Jackling was educated at the State Normal School at Warrensburg, Missouri, and at the Missouri School of Mines at Rolla. He graduated from the latter institution in 1892 with a B.S. degree, and he spent the next year at his alma mater as assistant professor of chemistry and metallurgy.
During the next three years (1893-96), Jackling became involved with mining on a firsthand basis, particularly at Cripple Creek, Colorado. During this period, he worked as a miner, an assayer, a mill hand, and a metallurgist. In 1896 he moved to Mercur, Utah, where he became construction and metallurgical superintendent of the Golden Gate mill, which was owned and operated by Joseph R. DeLamar and Enos Wall. Wall had claims to extensive mining property in Bingham Canyon, and in 1898 DeLamar asked Jackling and Robert C. Gemmell to make an extensive examination of the Wall copper property at Bingham. Gemmell directed the sampling and geological work while Jackling directed the assaying and mill tests in the old Rogers Mill at Bingham. The Jackling-Gemmell report was dated 18 September 1898 and urged mass mining and milling of the low-grade copper ore found at Bingham. DeLamar opted not to be involved, but in 1903 the Utah Copper Company was organized with Charles MacNeill, one of Jackling's former Colorado mining associates, as president, Enos Wall as vice-president, and Jackling as general manager.