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Environmental activists are upping the ante in their battle to prevent exploration for oil and gas off the KwaZulu-Natal coast, from the south to the Mozambican border. A study by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has shown that SA has potential oil and gas reserves of between 9-billion and 11-billion barrels respectively off its coast. To realise that potential, and to help the economy reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the government’s Operation Phakisa has set a target of sinking 30 exploration wells offshore in the next ten years. Drilling for oil exploration is expected to get under way early in 2019 after Thursday’s announcement by mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe in Cape Town that SA will relax a moratorium on gas and oil exploration licences implemented earlier in 2018. This will allow exploration and production applications that are already in the system to be approved. “This amendment will ensure that applications currently in our system are ...

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