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Editorial: Good news from Pulsar hopefully a sign of things yet to come

Ely Echo - Staff Photo - Create Article

Good economic news can be hard to find in northeastern Minnesota.

That may be why so many people are starting to keep an eye on the news coming from Pulsar Helium - and an announcement this week certainly provides more reason for hope.

The company announced Thursday that helium contents of up to 13.8 percent were measured from one of the samples obtained at an 1,800-foot in-hole depth near Babbitt.

What does it mean?

It’s still far too early to say, but advisors engaged by Pulsar indicate it’s “the highest helium concentrations we have ever seen.”

The collection of further data will determine whether the drill pad is sitting on what could be the largest helium reserve in the world.

One would hope that this will be news that can unite both sides of the political and environmental spectrums, and that if further tests prove well and economic markets are favorable, that helium extraction and or processing will be part of the region’s economic future.

Whether Pulsar creates 20 jobs or 200, that’s 20-to-200 more than currently exist and can serve only to help a region that continues to struggle on economic fronts.

The economic challenges facing Ely, Babbitt and other rural regions aren’t unique and are in many ways similar.

Declining and aging populations; school enrollments that continue to dwindle - to the point that incoming kindergarten class of 34 students in Ely may be taken as good news; shortages of affordable housing and difficulties retaining reliable and affordable childcare.

These issues continue to vex our region and efforts that would lead to good-paying and stable employment must be supported and saluted.

That’s why we are continuing to watch and cheer for Pulsar Helium as it looks to become part of our economic future.

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