Shabangu discusses fracking issue

Minister Susan Shabangu says government will follow the guidelines regarding fracking in the Karoo.

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu on Tuesday outlined the recommendations on why a moratorium on shale gas exploration in the Karoo has been lifted.

Earlier in September, the moratorium was lifted despite opposition by environmental groups and threats of legal action.

In 2011, a government task team was set up to investigate the issue and a 3,000 page report was sent to Cabinet.

Shabangu explained Cabinet has been guided by the document, which outlined seven key recommendations.

She said ongoing research into hydraulic fracking must be conducted to enhance scientific knowledge on the method.

The minister emphasised there is a conditional approval for exploration, but in the event of unacceptable outcomes, the process can be halted.

Shabangu told Parliamentarians that applicants can start drilling, but this does not mean they can start the fracking process.

Five companies have applied for licences.