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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…..

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