The MEC for Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Destea) in the Free State, Makalo Mohale, visited the mine on 26 November 2019 to officially launch it.
Mohale says the project started in 2016 on a small scale. The department assisted Renergen to source R700 million in funding and following the right processes. He says to date 450 jobs have been created and more permanent job opportunities will come.
The CEO of Renegern, Stefano Marani, says this is a milestone for South Africa as Renergen is the first and only helium gas mine in the country, the first commercial LNG liquefier and helium producer. By 2021 SA will be a prominent roleplayer in the helium market because of the rich concentrate level. This will make South Africa the eighth country to export helium.
Besides being used to inflate balloons, hospitals also need helium to run MRI scanners. It is also used in airbags, high technology equipment, medical devices and aircraft.
Recently Renergen opened the second helium gas filling station in Johannesburg for trucks of a particular logistics company. The gas station is supplied by the very plant in the Free State. Mirana wishes more trucks to run on the Helium gas because it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90%, making it one of the cleanest and safest energy sources.
OFM News/Marvin Ntsane