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Golden gas found in South Africa - 26th November 2021 View All

South Africa is famous for its gold. But a South African company, Renergen, found something different. It's helium. Helium is an important gas. We put helium in party balloons. People use it in technology and in space travel too.

Renergen bosses Stefano Marani and Nick Mitchell bought some land in South Africa in 2012 for $1. They wanted it for natural gas. It was a surprise to find the helium with the natural gas. Marani was very happy.

Stefano Marani: ("What was your reaction when you found out?") - "I can't say that on camera!" [laughter]

Finding the helium was important for Renergen. The US makes lots of helium. But now more helium will come from South Africa.

Stefano Marani: "The United States produces at around 0.35 percent. Our average is 3.4 percent, so already we're, we’re 10 times higher than the United States and that's our average. We have wells over here at 12 percent, which are completely unprecedented and never seen before."

Helium is very unusual. It comes from only 10 countries in the world.

Renergen is testing the new area. The helium could be worth $100 billion. And the gas will be easy to get out. This is good news. The work won’t damage the land.

Stefano Marani: "It’s, it’s stimulating from a science, from a chemistry perspective, from a physics perspective, from an engineering perspective. There’s all of these cool things going on. And then overlaid with the physics and the chemistry, you’ve got logistics and you’ve got, you know, the fact that we’re dual-listed on, you know, on, on two stock exchanges. There’s, there’s a lot going on in this project. And there, there are a lot of layers to peel away on it. But it, it’s, it’s a fantastic job, it really is." View Less

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