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December 18, 2018 December 18, 2018

Northern memories

Posted on November 27, 2018 by Sunny South News

I received a phone call from my former Chief Engineer,  Fred Hinton, who used to work for Sheritt-Gordon Mines in Lynn Lake, Man.

He  asked if I was interested to work for him at Eldorado Nuclear Ltd, in Eldorado, Sask. I was so thrilled to hear from him because the mine at Lynn Lake converted to low pressure boilers and had no need for shift engineers. I discussed this with Lydia, and she agreed. Fred contacted the Airline company at Lynn Lake and arranged for us to fly in a Cessna for an interview on January 1977.

We left early Monday morning the sky was clear but when we arrived at Eldorado we encountered a low cloud ceiling and ended up landing on Beaverlodge Lake, about 2 km from the Airport. Fred and the supervisors looked high and low for us until we spotted someone on a skidoo and he notified them at the Airport to come and get us.

When they picked us up they took us to the Cookhouse for dinner and afterwards to complete my resume and arrange for a medical. Due to bad weather we  were not able to leave the following day so we stayed at a trailer bunkhouse for three days.

The food was great and we were treated  like royalty. In the meantime, Fred drove us from the mine site into town  Uranium City, Sask., 10 km  from  Eldorado to visit his family and friends.

We toured the homes that Eldorado had for rentals and was surprised that the rent was only $96.00 per month for a cedar house.

When we arrived back at Lynn Lake, Man.,  we arranged to give our notice to Sherrit-Gordon Mines and arrange for a Twin Otter to transport our furniture to Uranium City, Sask. However, the plane was too small  Airport personnel called Lamb Air from Thompson, Man., for a chartered DC-4.

Friends and co-workers gave us a farewell party before we left. We are lucky all the furniture fit in the plane but we had to sit at the tail end of the plane  due to regulations and almost froze to death.

The Pilot said “if you get cold come up to the cockpit.” We stayed back of the plane and I sat on Lydia’s feet to keep them warm. We wore heavy Eskimo parkas, mitts, snow boots and skidoo suits but still were very cold. When I looked out the plane’s window icicles formed on the propeller wings.

When we arrived at the Uranium City Airport, people were wondering why we arrived on a Sunday? We were fortunate that   Eldorado Nuclear Ltd paid for our moving and interview expenses.

We were given the low rental house and the airlines staff moved us into it. On Monday morning Fred came by and took me for an underground tour dressed in mining gear. I sat in the small trains that they haul ore in. Fred was disappointed why I was asked to take the tour when my job is in the Powerhouse as shift engineer and not as a miner. The entire day was almost wasted but it was a good experience.

The same day I was shown around the Powerhouse with a day shift engineer for an hour and then took over the afternoon shift on my own. The company was always short of engineers for the plant, two engineers would operate a twelve-hour shift each for three or even six months at one time with no days off. I would have loved to work there for another twenty years but the ore ran out and we had to leave in 1982.

PAUL JONES
Coaldale

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