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Australia Removes Helium from its Critical Mineral List

Australia has joined the bandwagon and removed helium from the its critical mineral list. Australia's sole helium producer was the Darwin LNG facility which used to get the helium from the Bayu Undan field but over the last few years, the prodution rate was declining and in early Dec'23, the operator officially shut down production. This is going to have a negative impact on all the Asia-Pacific consumers as Australia used to be a stable and reliable source of helium. Removing helium from the critical mineral list was decided with the rationale that Australia was not at risk of supply chain disruption and that it has well-established industries. Although Australia is not a major consumer of helium, removing it from the list may lead to regulatory difficulties for helium explorers in the region. Australia has also recently partnered with the US and Canada to unify critical mineral data but given that two of the three partners do not include helium on the list may translate to excluding helium from their study completely.

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