Skip to content

Helium Supply & Demand

Concerns over an uncertain, scarce and affordable supply of helium are growing worldwide. Helium plays a fundamental, growing and irreplaceable role across our society and economy. The vast majority of helium is produced in the U.S. – where demand is growing and export supply is shrinking – and unstable political environments such as Russia, Qatar and Algeria. Much of the world’s increased supply of helium was forecast to come from Russia but Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine only proved to expose the fragility of the supply chain and force supply rationing. In Early 2023, the European Union added helium to its critical materials list in recognition of its economic importance and supply risk.

Scarcity and uncertainty of supply is calling into question everything from the repatriated North American chip manufacturing sector’s ability to support critical defence and electric vehicle production, to restrictions on scientific research being conducted at Canadian universities and the delivery of essential medical services to Canadians. As just one example, in a May 2023 Position Statement, the Canadian Helium Users Group (CHUG), Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (CAMRT) and Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR) came together to appeal for the establishment of a national helium supply chain to mitigate the risk of ongoing and future global supply chain challenges.

Megan Brydon, President, Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists

“We should not be waiting for the time when MRI scanners are shut down due to a shortage of helium. Acting now…will ensure the continuity of MRI imaging, so critical to the care of millions of people in Canada every year."

Dr. Ania Kielar, President, Canadian Association of Radiologists

“Canada needs to invest in a sustainable national helium supply chain.”

Bob Berno Ph.D., Canadian Helium Users Group, and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility Manager at McMaster University.

“Canadian consumers are vulnerable to (helium) supply disruptions. Canada can establish a 'Made in Canada' helium solution…this would ensure a secure supply for healthcare, research, and industry. It would position Canada as a global leader in helium utilization, foster job creation, and technological innovation."

Carolyn Duran, Intel

“Any disruption, even of a few days, could slow production in a semiconductor facility. A significant delay could result in the need to shut a facility down. This is an untenable option for our company and other industries, and for the country as a whole.”

NASA

any disruption in the helium supply could impact the ability of NASA and commercial launch programs (e.g., SpaceX, Blue Origin, United Launch Alliance, etc.) to accomplish their missions.” (NASA)

Megan Brydon, President, Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists

“We should not be waiting for the time when MRI scanners are shut down due to a shortage of helium. Acting now…will ensure the continuity of MRI imaging, so critical to the care of millions of people in Canada every year."

Dr. Ania Kielar, President, Canadian Association of Radiologists

“Canada needs to invest in a sustainable national helium supply chain.”

Bob Berno Ph.D., Canadian Helium Users Group, and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility Manager at McMaster University.

“Canadian consumers are vulnerable to (helium) supply disruptions. Canada can establish a 'Made in Canada' helium solution…this would ensure a secure supply for healthcare, research, and industry. It would position Canada as a global leader in helium utilization, foster job creation, and technological innovation."

Carolyn Duran, Intel

“Any disruption, even of a few days, could slow production in a semiconductor facility. A significant delay could result in the need to shut a facility down. This is an untenable option for our company and other industries, and for the country as a whole.”

NASA

any disruption in the helium supply could impact the ability of NASA and commercial launch programs (e.g., SpaceX, Blue Origin, United Launch Alliance, etc.) to accomplish their missions.” (NASA)

HeDAC 2024 Federal Budget Submission:

HeDAC endorsement of Canadian Association of Energy Contractor

Canadian Gov’t Publications:

Federal Government

What needs to be done by the Government of Canada to drive this Opportunity?

To enable development of a sustainable and secure Canadian helium supply that will facilitate the delivery of essential medical services, research, and the green and digital economy, the government “levels the playing field” and provides companies exploring for and developing Canada’s helium critical mineral resource those Normal Tax Measures that are provided other mineral resource developers, specifically Canadian Exploration Expense treatment and the ability to issue flow-through shares. 

Federal Government

What needs to be done by the Government of Canada to drive this Opportunity?

To enable development of a sustainable and secure Canadian helium supply that will facilitate the delivery of essential medical services, research, and the green and digital economy, the government “levels the playing field” and provides companies exploring for and developing Canada’s helium critical mineral resource those Normal Tax Measures that are provided other mineral resource developers, specifically Canadian Exploration Expense treatment and the ability to issue flow-through shares. 

HeDAC Submission to the Canadian Government:

Canadian Government Documentations:

Provincial Governments

Working with Provincial Governments to enable helium exploration and development

Saskatchewan

Continues to strongly support Helium development through their successful Helium Action Plan.

Saskatchewan’s helium plan targets producing 10% of the world’s helium by 2030, supporting thousands of jobs and generating annual exports worth as much as $500-million.

Alberta

Helium prominent in the Minister of Energy and Minerals’ mandate letter.

Consistent with the mandate letter direction provided to the Minister to incentivize investment and improve regulatory regimes for helium, HeDAC has provided following recommendations to Minister Jean:

  • Improve permitting processes.
  • Pilot program to enhance Alberta’s mineral tenure license system for helium exploration.
  • Extend successful APIP program to helium processing facilities and infrastructure.

 

Provincial Governments

Working closely with Provincial Governments to enable helium exploration and development.

Saskatchewan

Continues to strongly support Helium development through their successful Helium Action Plan.

Saskatchewan’s helium plan targets producing 10% of the world’s helium by 2030, supporting thousands of jobs and generating annual exports worth as much as $500-million.

Saskatchewan Gov’t Publications:

Alberta

Helium prominent in the Minister of Energy and Minerals’ mandate letter.

Consistent with the mandate letter direction provided to the Minister to incentivize investment and improve regulatory regimes for helium, HeDAC has provided following recommendations to Minister Jean:

  • Improve permitting processes.
  • Pilot program to enhance Alberta’s mineral tenure license system for helium exploration.
  • Extend successful APIP program to helium processing facilities and infrastructure.
Alberta Gov’t Pblications: