Canadian mining company Ivanhoe Mines has acquired a 5% stake in domestic natural gas and helium producer Renergen, with scope to be a majority shareholder, holding a 55% stake in the firm.

Ivanhoe Mines’ investment is set to greatly benefit Renergen’s Virginia Gas Project. Comprised of 187,000 hectares in South Africa’s Free State around the towns of Welkom, Virginia and Theunissen, Renergen has a valid licence over the area until 2042, and holds 100% of the economic interest in the production right. 

With its Virginia Gas Project, Renergen hopes to produce both liquid helium and LNG.

Stefano Marani, CEO of Renergen, said, “This major transaction is a landmark deal for Renergen and one that recognises strong synergies with our new partners, Ivanhoe.”

“Robert Friedland [Ivanhoe’s Executive Co-Chairman] is a leader in terms of finding and developing disruptive, world-class resources across a broad range of commodities and jurisdictions, and to secure his potential backing of the Virginia Gas Project is testament not only to the work done to date, but also to the incredible opportunity to establish a South African-based globally significant LNG and helium production operation.”

“I am very proud to welcome Ivanhoe as a shareholder in Renergen.”

Dr David King, Chairman of Renergen, added “Ivanhoe is an ideal partner to stand alongside Renergen in the development of its world class helium reserves at Virginia. The strategic partnership with Ivanhoe is testament to the great progress that Renergen has made in its transition from explorer to developer of an internationally significant resources project.”

News of Ivanhoe Mines’ investment comes at a critical time, where the currently global LNG and helium markets are in shortfall, Renergen highlighted in a press release. With the rising conflict between Russia and Ukraine, it is believed these gases will be even harder to obtain.