Mining Sector Officials Call for Harmonious Collaboration Between Local and Foreign Experts as Helium Exploration Contract Signed in Dar

University of Dar es Salaam Vice Chancellor William-Andey Lazaro Anangisye,(Left) Signs Helium exploration contract with Noble Helium Limited representative in Dar es Salaam. (Photo Credit: Tanzania Ministry of Minerals)

By TZ Business News Staff

Harmonious collaboration between foreign and local mining experts has been sited as something important in this industry. The view was expressed at a contract signing event attended  by Deputy Minister for Mining Dr. Steven Kiruswa at the University of Dar es Salaam. 

The Australian mining company, Noble Helium Limited, signed a collaborative Helium exploration contract with the University of Dar es Salaam during the first week of April, 2022. At this event mining industry officials in attendance echoed the need for harmonious collaboration  between  the foreign  stakeholder and  local institutions and expertise.

In Tanzania  the company  Noble Helium Limited operates through its local subsidiary  called Rocket Tanzania Limited.

The Australian company  has  permits to explore for Helium in especially four areas in Tanzania which  it identifies in its company prospectus as the North Rukwa Basin Project,  the North Nyasa Basin Project, the Eyasi Basin Project and the Manyara Basin Project.

The Company thinks its principal asset is the North Rukwa Basin Project  which occupies a 300km-long rift segment of the East African Rift System located between Lake Tanganyika and Lake Nyasa  in southwest Tanzania, according to the prospectus which suggests that preliminary data show this area may contain  between  a Helium  Low Estimate  of some t19.6 Bcf  and a high estimate of t405.7 Bcf.

Helium  gas  has a wide range  of uses, including use in welding aluminum, use in rocket propulsion where it is used to pressurize fuel tanks, and use as a lifting gas for instrument-carrying balloons. Talking to those present at the contract signing event, the University of Dar es Salaam Vice Counsellor   Prof. William-Andey Lazaro Anangisye described the prospect of  large amounts of Helium as a source of wealth which would bring a lot of benefit to Tanzania, benefit which would include job creation.

The two proven physical mechanisms that cause helium to form into gas phase at depth are modelled as active within the North Rukwa Project, the company’s  prospectus submitted at the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) shows. A working helium source is demonstrated in the Rukwa Basin with multiple hotsprings measured at concentrations of up to 10 percent helium and associated mainly with nitrogen. This independence from hydrocarbons is exceedingly rare, with 95% of the world’s helium sourced as by-product of natural gas.

In 2021, further evidence of a working helium source was demonstrated in the central Rukwa Basin by Helium One Global Ltd (Helium One), which drilled two helium exploration wells in close proximity to one another, the Tai-1 and Tai-2 wells. While both are considered dry holes, helium was measured in shallow sections above the primary formations of interest and detected at multiple levels including the deepest targets in the Karoo section.

Noble Helium Limited notes that the North Nyasa Basin Project, Eyasi Basin Project and the Manyara Basin Project are not as advanced as the North Rukwa Basin Project and are considered to be earlystage exploration projects.

Deputy Minister Kiruswa asked Noble Helium Limited’s Tanzania subsidiary,  Rocket Tanzania Limited,  to work closely with the  institution Geological Survey of Tanzania (GST) because they already have a lot  of data, as well as the State Mining Corporation (STAMICO) because they also conduct explorations and they have a lot of equipment. The Local Content Manager from Tanzania’s Mining Commission asked Roket Tanzania Limited to submit its local content plan.  A local content plan refers to a company’s plan on using locally available goods and services instead of importing what is locally available.