Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane’s announcement last week that the government has decided to proceed with shale gas extraction in the Karoo has been slammed by industry experts on the basis of its negative consequences for the environment and the region’s water supply. Zwane revealed government’s decision in a speech to a Northern Cape community of Richmond on Thursday. Five applications for fracking licences have been submitted so far by Shell (3), Falcon Oil and Gas and Bundu Gas and Oil Exploration. The views of industry analysts support the findings of a report released in November 2016 by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research which concluded that there was not enough water in the Karoo to extract shale gas by means of fracking and that this would also pose a risk of water pollution. The report was commissioned in 2012 by the Department of Mineral Resources to investigate the feasibility of shale gas development in the Karoo. Frost & Sullivan industry anal...

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