Scavenger Hunt - Helium


A lot of attention is being paid to the "end of growth" expected to grind the global economy to a near halt by the end of the 2020s.  See here, here and here

It was with this in mind that I came across a pitch from Avanti Energy Inc. for what it called the "next commodity boom" - helium.

It's all there.  The shortage of helium reserves. A wasting non-renewable asset.

Avanti invites investors to join it as the company scours the U.S. and Canada to discover the best remaining helium structures to tap.  The idea is that they're not making any more of it. We're fast running out of the easy, cheap reserves.  Shortages = money, money, money.

The hard sell:

While NASA primarily uses helium, it’s also used in hospitals, big tech server farms, fiber optic cabling, semiconductors, nuclear reactors, cryogenics, and electric vehicles.

However, helium is not a renewable or replaceable resource, therefore striking new finds is paramount to continued successes in the industries mentioned above.

Big Tech, nuclear reactors, medical equipment, and the international space race are all linked together in their dependence on helium.

And without it, life as we know it would be a very different experience.
No helium means no Big Tech

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), and Google (Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL)) all rely on vast server farms to deliver their services.

However, few consumers know that these servers are supported by helium, so if this gas runs out, these powerful services, integral to modern life, could disappear.

This is a powerful, cash-rich sector with considerable incentive to see helium survive.

Whether you call this behaviour disaster capitalism or old fashioned cornering the market, the predatory motivation is pretty obvious.  This critical resource is becoming scarce. Let's get a corner on the market. Profit from strategic resource desperation.

How many other critical resources will that hoarded cash, accumulated by the 1 per cent, be used to lock up? What's next, Mad Max?


  1. Greed is inexhaustible, Mound. Unfortunately, it flourishes like dandelions in the spring.

  2. We have two choices, Owen. We can lead ourselves out of the neoliberal perpetual growth economic model on our own terms or we can carry on until the wheels fall off this wagon, sometime in the next decade.

    Eventually we will have to take a new approach to our natural resources, especially the security of our food supply. This will mean identifying critical products that can no longer be considered ordinary items of commerce.

    Fisheries offer an example. In the wild they're a national/provincial resource. Property of the province and its people. Once they're aboard a trawler they're transformed into a private asset that the fisherman can sell to the highest bidder which, today, is often in Asia. Our fishing community reaps a windfall and hands the public shortages or unacceptable costs.

    A couple of years ago a plague of some sort left Asia short of seafood. Their buyers descended on BC's annual spot prawn harvest, sending prices through the roof. The market cost became so high that even upscale Vancouver restaurants had to take spot prawns off their menus.

    That situation is going to get worse, much worse. We need to rethink global trade with a view to placing the needs of the Canadian public first.


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