JOHANNESBURG – Researchers in Britain say they have discovered a huge helium gas field in Africa that they call a "game-changer for the future security of society's helium needs."
Tuesday's statement by Oxford University says the discovery in Tanzania is the result of a new exploration approach for the precious gas that is critical to spacecraft, MRI scanners and nuclear energy.
The world has faced a shortage of helium, and the statement says this is the first time the gas has been found intentionally. Helium has been found in small amounts accidentally during drilling for oil and gas.
The statement says researchers worked with Norway-based exploration company Helium One on the new exploration approach.
It says volcanic heat has released helium from rocks in Tanzania and trapped it in shallow gas fields.