Frack­ing ‘prom­ises growth’ for Ka­roo

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

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

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