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Fracking one step closer to reality

South Africa this week moved one step closer towards exploiting the country’s vast shale gas reserves.

Equipment used for the extraction of natural gas is viewed at a hydraulic fracturing site on June 19, 2012 in South Montrose, Pennsylvania. Picture: AFP.

South Africa moved one step closer towards exploiting the country's vast shale gas reserves when The Department of Mineral Resources this week released proposed rules to govern hydraulic fracturing.

This was done in response to a 2012 report recommending reinforcement by government of the regulations governing hydraulic fracturing. "This is exactly what has now happened and the public has 30 days to respond," said Spokesperson for the Department of Mineral Resources Ayanda Shezi.

One of the fears addressed by these new regulations revolves around access to scarce water resources and the potential for contamination thereof.

The public can access these draft regulations in the Government Gazette (15 October) or on the Department's website and can respond in writing. "We've given the public 30 days, but if we feel we need more information we'll go out again to consult with the people."

The Department said it cannot give an indication of when actual exploration will commence as it cannot pre-empt the process of public participation.

Click here to listen to Spokesperson Ayanda Shezi and the response of Treasure the Karoo Action Group CEO Jonathan Deal.