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The discovery of a new helium deposit will change the situation on global markets

Scientists have discovered a large deposit of helium in Tanzania. This is extremely good news as global stocks of this gas are running low and its sale in some countries has been regulated for a long time. Researchers from Durham and Oxford Universities describe the find as a ‘game-changer’, a situation that will completely change
Published: June 28, 2016 - 18:50
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 13:38
The discovery of a new helium deposit will change the situation on global markets

Scientists have discovered a large deposit of helium in Tanzania. This is extremely good news as global stocks of this gas are running low and its sale in some countries has been regulated for a long time. Researchers from Durham and Oxford Universities describe the find as a ‘game-changer’, a situation that will completely change previous standards.

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This is extremely important news for those involved in technical diving, where helium is an extremely important and in recent years very expensive component of breathing mixtures. Just to mention that the price of helium has increased by 500% in the last 15 years! The new deposit has been estimated at 54 billion cubic feet, which should meet global demand for several years.

Prior to the discovery of the new deposit in Africa, helium was extracted in small quantities mainly during oilfield drilling and natural gas exploration. The Tanzanian deposit was located near the Great Eastern Trench, which is a tectonic trench that forms part of the Great African Trench.

In addition to technical diving, helium is also used in hospital MRI scanners for conducting MRIs, in the manufacture of spacecraft, telescopes and radiation monitoring equipment.

“This discovery completely changes the previous situation and provides a completely different perspective on the question of meeting the world’s demand for this raw material. Additionally, discoveries similar to the one we are talking about should occur more frequently in the near future.” – said Professor Chris Ballentine of the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford.

“We can use the same strategy for areas of the world with a similar geological history, which should translate into the discovery of further helium deposits elsewhere in the world.” – Dr Pete Barry added.

Although helium is the second most abundant element in the universe, it is unfortunately relatively rare on Earth. What is more, the released helium will float for as long as it takes to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.

Now the scientists have another important task ahead of them – to determine the best place to drill a well to exploit the deposit.

Source: bbc.com

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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