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Helium Reserve in Tanzania Hailed As A Game-Changer

Posted on : Friday , 13th October 2017

 An enormous new helium reserve has been identified in Tanzania. Its size has been estimated to be twice that of what it was originally thought to be.

 
Helium is an essential component of the gas mixture that is needed for deep technical diving.
 
It is not a narcotic like nitrogen and is used by divers to control the volume of nitrogen in the mixture or even eradicate it completely leaving behind only a mix of oxygen and helium in the cylinder (heliox) from the original mix called ‘trimix’.
 
Helium has several other uses in scientific as well as medical application. It is used as a coolant in its liquid form for big scientific projects like rocket propulsion. While in the medical sphere, it is used in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners.
 
Helium remains a non-renewable resource and there is no chemical method to produce the gas.
 
The naturally occurring radioactive decay in rocks is what produces the gas. If the gas is not mined, it would be lost in space.
 
Limited supplies of helium in recent years have caused the prices of Helium to sky-rocket over the past decade, making tank filling very expensive for divers.
 
On discovery, the field in Tanzania in 2016 was expected to contain 1.5 billion cubic meter (54 billion cubic feet) of helium, with that number expected to rise further, in light of recent discoveries.
 
The initial estimate was flawed with mistakes in sampling procedures with the capacity of the field expected to now be as much as 2.8 billion cubic meters of helium. This is according to a study conducted by Chris Ballentine and Peter Barry from the University of Oxford.
 
 "We are probably still somewhat understating what is present," said Abraham James, "but nevertheless, that gives us room to update and improve as we progress."
 
Media outlets globally have hailed the discovery as a ‘game-changer’ for medicine and science and in a lesser sense at least a ‘bill-changer’ for divers. 
 

 

Source : Business News Africa

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