Anti-fracking group not backing down

The Treasure Karoo Action Group is ready to go to court to prevent fracking in the Karoo.

A member of Treasure the Karoo Action Group participates in a protest action in front of Parliament in Cape Town. Picture: Nardus Engelbrecht/SAPA

CAPE TOWN - The Treasure Karoo Action Group on Wednesday said it is fully prepared to take government to court if fracking goes ahead.

Fracking is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure, in order to fracture shale rocks to release the natural gas from inside.

In 2012, government lifted the moratorium on fracking in the Karoo, but has yet to announce whether licences will be issued to interested companies.

International oil companies Shell SA, Bundu Gas & Oil, and Falcon Gas & Oil have requested exploration licences to search for shale gas in the region.

Last week, Western Cape Environmental Affairs MEC Anton Bredell said local government was not for or against the controversial form of mining.

The Treasure Karoo Action Group's Jonathan Deal said they have now joined forces with organisation AfriForum, which is also opposed to fracking.

"If (Environmental Affairs) Minister (Susan) Shabangu does issue licences, we have a 30-day period to fully consider what is in the licences in terms of conditions that are attached, and refine our appeal documents. We are in a position to appeal the matter."

The group is concerned that fracking will pollute water and soil in the area.

Fracking involves working with explosive gases and toxic chemicals, which can lead to serious health issues for humans as well as animals.