Helium gas to become a key component in driving industrialization in Tanzania
Helium One, the mineral exploration company that has been conducting surveying and exploration activities for helium in the Rukwa Region, in partnership with the Geology Department of the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) and Oxford University, had organized a one-day workshop at UDSM to build local capacity and awareness on the origin, exploration and development of helium in Tanzania.
Held at the Council Chamber, University of Dar es Salaam, the workshop’s main objective was to bring together experts/scientists and key stakeholders from local, national and international communities to share their expertise, experiences and disseminate research findings on helium in the context of its use in enhancing industrialization in Tanzania and globally.
The workshop also featured high level noble gas scientists from Oxford University, collaborating with UDSM’s geology department, decision makers, development partners, policy developers and practitioners from Government, researchers, private sectors and the local and international media.
Speaking at the workshop, Helium One’s Chief Executive Officer, Thomas Abraham-James said: “Helium One believes there is an opportunity through helium exploration and development to develop world-class technical skills and scientific expertise locally in Tanzania. We continue to build on our partnership with UDSM through knowledge-sharing, training for students and Ministry of Minerals’ staff, and development of a scholarship programme”.
During the workshop Helium One awarded two UDSM students a funded MSc programme, which includes a placement at Oxford University, a sponsorship that he said was geared towards imparting world-class technical skills and scientific expertise to Tanzanians as well as fostering the existing productive partnership between Helium One and UDSM.
Helium One has so far discovered an estimated 98.9bcf of helium, representing a major helium discovery in the global context of rapidly diminishing supply and growing demand for the resource. “We believe our Rukwa basin helium project holds the potential to become a flagship example of the Government of Tanzania’s industrialization agenda, set out in the 2016/17-2020/21 National Development Plan”, Thomas added.
On his part, Mr. Mussa Abbasi, representative from the Ministry of Energy who commended Helium One for its productive helium exploration activities, said that Tanzania was committed to creating a conducive environment for all genuine investors who were keen on investing in various economic sectors in the country.
“The government, through the Ministry of Minerals wishes to reaffirm its unflinching commitment in encouraging, promoting and facilitating investment in Tanzania. We consider private investment an integral part of our country’s economic growth and that’s why the government has put in place progressive and dynamic mechanisms to spur direct and indirect investment”, Abbasi said.
On his part, Prof John Machiwa representing the Vice Chancellor for Research, UDSM said that the forum provided a most ideal platform for students, the staff and the entire UDSM academic fraternity to understand and explore ways in which they can work together with Helium One in harnessing skills as well as acquiring expertise in helium exploration, production and exportation.
“We believe that UDSM and Helium One have a lot to offer through the requisite partnership in terms of exchange of skills and professional expertise that will lead to leveraging locally-available skilled man-power from UDSM and other local institutions of higher learning”, noted Prof Machiwa.