Premier Smith on hand to launch helium purification facility north of Brooks, Alta.

Dec 16, 2023 – Via CTV

A first-of-its-kind helium purification facility was officially launched Saturday.

Premier Danielle Smith was among the dignitaries on hand to launch the Steveville Helium Purification Facility, which owners Royal Helium Ltd say was “designed, engineered and built by Albertans in Alberta.”

The plant is located in Princess, Alta. about 20 minutes drive north of Brooks, which is Smith’s riding.

“It’s clear that Royal Helium is a tremendous gain for the whole the province and it’s really the start of a new era for Alberta,” Smith said.

While most people tend to think of helium as somethng that helps balloons escape from childrens’ hands into the sky at birthday parties, it has other uses. It’s used as a coolant in MRI machines, semiconductor manufacturing, and electric vehicles.

Truth be told, with helium, the sky isn’t even the limit: space flights rely on it.

Helium Developers of Canada says the country has the fifth-largest reserve of the natural resource.

“We’re just at the early stages of what appears to be a very significant resource,” said Richard Dunn, the executive director of the Helium Developers Association of Canada.

The Royal Helium facility is the first helium purification facility of its size in North America, and part of that leads to a very low carbon footprint…..

Read the full article here.

Helium startups on the Prairies hope to keep domestic supplies afloat

Dec 11, 2023 – Via CBC

Tight supply, high prices have prompted a rush of activity in Alberta, Saskatchewan

To the untrained eye, the collection of pipes and structures rising out of the prairie 200 kilometres east of Calgary looks like any other natural gas processing plant in southern Alberta. 

But the Steveville plant isn’t focused on extracting hydrocarbons. Instead, the prize it’s seeking deep underground is helium. 

The element is most commonly associated with party balloons, but it has myriad other applications ranging from its use in MRI machines to semiconductors to the aerospace industry. 

Helium supply has tightened and prices have climbed in recent years, owing in part to the gradual depletion of the U.S. strategic helium reserve along with a cascading series of four global helium shortages since 2006…..

Read the full article here.