Fracking ‘promises growth’ for Karoo
THE discovery of shale gas in the Karoo creates possibilities for growth and economic development in the Northern Cape, President Jacob Zuma said yesterday.
“…as government we consider hydraulic fracturing for shale gas a ‘ game- change’ opportunity for the Karoo region and for our economy at large,” he said in a speech prepared for the launch of the Kalagadi Manganese company’s Stanley Nkosi sinter mine.
Zuma said the government was aware of concerns raised about hydraulic fracturing, including water and the environment.
“The Mineral Resources minister ( Susan Shabangu) will therefore be coming back to this area early next year to consult with communities, and to hear what the people have to say, before any further decisions are taken.”
A year ago, Cabinet agreed to lift a moratorium on applications to explore for shale gas in the Karoo using fracking.
In August, Trade and Industry minister Rob Davies said the government could authorise shale gas exploration before next year’s elections.
At the time, the Alliance Against Fracking in South Africa said it believed the country’s laws were “inadequate to control an industry with a severely tarnished reputation and the process of fracking”.
Treasure Karoo Action Group chairman Jonathan Deal added that the government had largely relied on research commissioned by the Mineral Resources department to investigate fracking.
The sinter mine, based in the town Hotazel, is named after Stanley Nkosi and Thembeka Moedi, from Batlharos, Kuruman.
“They are the ones who were part of the team that cultivated the ground on which this imposing infrastructure stands. We ought to pay homage to such selfless citizens of our country,” Zuma said.
He said the two died before the mine was completed.
Zuma said R6.5 billion of capital had been injected into the province in the past four years, with at least 3 000 direct jobs created. – Sapa