South Surrey writer Patricia Sandberg admits she has mining in her blood – although she claims her former career as a securities lawyer for mining companies came about more as a matter of accident, than design.
The fact remains that both her grandfather, Fred, and father Jack, were both deeply involved in the construction end of the mining industry and had an extended working relationship with 20th century Canadian prospector and mining pioneer Gilbert LaBine, first president of Eldorado Mining and Refining from the late 1920s until 1947.
The uranium boom of the late 1940s led LaBine to discover deposits of the metal on the shores of Lake Athabaska in Northern Saskatchewan. In the early 1950s he established Gunnar Mines there – and the company town that was built around it.
And that’s where Sandberg grandparents and parents – and Sandberg herself – moved in 1954, and stayed for some 10 years until mining operations, and the town, wound down in 1964.
It’s a connection that makes Sandberg particularly suited to write the story of the short-lived, yet vital community.
And her forthcoming book, Sun Dogs and Yellowcake, supplies not only a missing, and particularly Canadian, chapter of history, but celebrates and memorializes a vanished way of life.
Set for publication early next month, the book will have its official launch Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Turnbull Gallery, 14601 20 Ave. (in the South Surrey Recreation and Arts Centre).
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