What to know about Minnesota’s richest-in-the-world helium deposit

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BABBITT — A half-hour ride from Babbitt along bumpy Superior National Forest roads crisscrossed by rivers and creeks and ATV trails, there is a drill site.

Surrounded by conifers, workers on the 1-acre site are serenaded by the constant, grunting hum of a motor. On a large yellow drill pad flanked by white pickup trucks, men in hard hats work on the rig, preparing to release what lies beneath.

As with most drill sites, the real interest is in what lies beneath. In this instance, it’s not iron ore or precious metal — it’s gas. Beneath the rocky, muddy ground is one of the most concentrated deposits of helium ever recorded.

Pulsar Helium licensed the site in 2021, and General Manager of Operations Michael Sturdy knows all about helium’s many “magical properties.” It’s the most stable of the elements. It can be mixed with other gases. It’s colorless, odorless and tasteless. It c...

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