The ASX’s newest Helium-focused entrant, Noble Helium (ASX:NHE), has confirmed early-stage evidence supporting possible commercial-scale helium deposits underground at the company’s second most developed project, the North Nyasa play.
That early-stage evidence comes in the form of a soil gas survey analysis which has turned over data showing anomalies coincident with helium gas accumulation.
In short, first-pass interpretation of the numbers shows helium concentrations at 40% above normal background levels (7.8ppm).
“This additional helium can only be explained as the result of micro-seepage from underground,” the company states.
Data is being processed at the University of Dar es Salaam; the former capital of Tanzania and home to the country’s financial district.
Crucial context: the 2022 US helium shortage
Two unplanned plant shutdowns earlier this year at a facility in the US, and another in Russia respectively, kicked off a US helium shortage that is echoing into global markets.
While helium can be synthesised, it is most often mined—and that is why a number of Australian companies are searching for the gas.
Noble is not alone on the ASX, as far as helium plays go. Grand Gulf Energy (ASX:GGE), located in Utah, are also seeking to produce helium for sale into the US markets as companies scramble to extract more of the gas from the ground.
Blue Star Helium (ASX:BNL) is also located in the US; Renergen (ASX:RLT) also searches for helium.
The helium shortage is impacting everything from weather balloons to the manufacture and operation of MRI machines, where helium is needed to keep magnets cool.
Some market research firms predict the value of the global helium market to reach US$6.6bn by 2028; a CAGR of 5% from US$4.7bn in 2021. A shortage is predicted to continue defining market dynamics.
Prospective resource inbound
While data has not been fully processed yet, once the whole kitchen sink of results are in, the company will get to work amalgamating soil gas survey results with existing 2D seismic and airborne data to begin forming a prospective resource estimate.
Noble Helium expects its maiden estimate for the North Nyasa project to be published in 2023, but, does not provide guidance on when delivery can be expected.
“The preliminary data is highly encouraging, demonstrating elevated helium concentrations and only trace CO2 and methane concentrations,” Noble chief Justyn Wood said.
Methane, for all intents and purposes, is synonymous with natural gas, meaning that there’s also strong evidence Noble hasn’t accidentally discovered the wrong kind of gas deposit.
“The North Nyasa project has a very similar setting to [our other project] North Rukwa, which as we have seen is highly prospective for helium,” Wood added.
The company’s chief also cited good working relationships with local stakeholders.
Two projects at once
Noble’s North Nyasa project sits second in the race to production behind the company’s flagship project, North Rukwa.
Worth noting is Noble highlights early-stage results at North Nyasa echo those early stage results pulled from Rukwa.
Both projects are located in Tanzania; for the uninitiated, a country in east Africa.
The North Nyasa project tenements are located near a small town called Matema on the edges of Lake Nyasa, nearby the Malawian border to the southwest.
SOURCE: Market Index