Southern Alberta Emerges as a Leader in Helium Production

Alberta's new helium purification facility positions Canada as a future leader in global helium production and supply.

Photo by Hans Reniers / Unsplash

A new helium purification facility has opened in southern Alberta, positioning the province to become a leading producer of this valuable element. The Steveville Helium Purification Facility, owned by Royal Helium Ltd., celebrated its grand opening in Princess, Alberta. The plant, which began operations in October, has already secured a long-term contract to supply an American space launch company.

Helium is a critical resource used in various applications such as hospital MRI machines, small modular reactors, aerospace, defense, and energy programs. The opening of the facility is seen as a significant step towards diversifying Alberta's economy and strengthening its natural resources industry. With Canada having the fifth largest concentration of helium resources in the world, this development highlights the country's potential to play a prominent role in helium production.

The helium industry in Alberta and Saskatchewan is gaining momentum, with both provinces focusing on increasing their production. Saskatchewan, which currently produces one percent of the world's helium supply, aims to secure 10 percent of the global market share by 2030. The province has set ambitious goals through its Helium Action Plan, aiming to create jobs, increase export value, and diversify the economy.

Alberta, with its abundant natural gas resources, is well-positioned to become a leading producer and supplier of helium. However, competition for capital with Saskatchewan poses a potential challenge to Alberta's future helium production. As Canada continues to tap into its helium reserves, this development represents a significant milestone in the country's efforts to meet its own domestic demand and potentially become a major player in the global helium market.