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Government to go ahead with Karoo shale gas exploration

Minister Mosebenzi Zwane says the decision was based on the need to diversify the country's energy sources.

FILE: Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane. Picture:  AFP.

RICHMOND - Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane has announced government's intention to proceed with the development of shale gas in the Karoo.

Speaking during a community engagement in the Northern Cape today, Zwane said the decision was based on the need to diversify the country's energy sources.

The move comes amid fierce lobbying in recent years to stop the controversial form of gas exploration.

Zwane told the Richmond Community the possibility existed that shale gas could be found in the Northern Cape too.

An estimated 50 trillion cubic feet is believed to be in the Karoo basin.

Zwane said government had taken steps to ensure that the surrounding farming community benefited from shale gas exploration.

He also gave the assurance that the Square Kilometre Array project would not be affected.

Zwane told the community government wanted them to benefit both socially and economically from shale gas exploration.

If viable, he said it would create jobs and contribute to the gross domestic product of one of the country's poorest provinces.

(Edited by Refilwe Thobega)

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