Shabangu looks to allay fears

The minister addressed delegates at the annual Mining Indaba in Cape Town.

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Proposed changes to legislation in the mining industry will not create regulatory uncertainty as critics have warned, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said on Tuesday.

She was speaking to delegates at the annual Mining Indaba at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

The minister used Tuesday's speech to allay concern about proposed changes to the Mineral Petroleum Resources Development Act.

One of the concerns that critics have with the bill is the restrictions placed on the export of raw materials.

But Shabangu says the continued exportation of unprocessed material denies South Africa the possibility of skilled employment and skills development.

Lawmakers are considering the amendment bill and the minister hopes it will be passed by Parliament.

FRACKING

Shabangu says government will also move decisively and responsibly with the exploration of shale gas.

She says technical regulations for shale gas development have been published for public comment and the final regulations will be released soon.

"The geological [report] indicates a potential for 485 trillion-cubic feet resource of shale gas trapped in the Karoo formation."

The minister says fracking could potentially provide cost-competitive energy security.

In 2012, Cabinet agreed to lift a moratorium on applications to explore for shale gas in the Karoo using hydraulic fracturing or "fracking".

Environmental activists have been vocal in their opposition to the plan because of its potential to contaminate water supplies.