‘Govt info on fracking is flawed’

An anti-fracking group says govt is using defective information to make decisions on fracking.

Protesters gather outside Parliament to show their opposition to the government’s decision to lift a moratorium on shale-gas exploration in the Karoo. Picture: Nathan Adams/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Anti-fracking campaigners say the information on which government has relied to make decisions about mining practice is flawed.

Last month, the state gazetted draft regulations governing shale gas exploration (fracking) in the Karoo.

But the move has been met with opposition from environmentalists.

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

Shell South Africa is one of the companies involved.

The Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG)'s Jonathan Deal says a meeting between Shell officials, farmers and business owners was held in Graaff-Reinet last week to discuss the issue.

"There was just absolutely no support for Shell's approach for the idea of shale gas mining."

He adds government is relying on flawed information about fracking.

"It's completely inappropriate and has excluded many of the scientists that should be involved."


In October, a group of environmental activists marched to Shell South Africa in Cape Town as part of an anti-fracking demonstration.

The group handed over a memorandum of demands to Department of Energy representatives in Parliament demanding fracking be banned.

The group, representing more than 60 environmental organisations, wants government to stop plans to allow fracking.

They argue it will threaten scarce water resources in the Karoo.

Earlier in the same month, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu announced Cabinet approved technical regulations aimed at governing the process.