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Burning issues at Karoo shale gas meeting

Landowners are concerned about their rights and water contamination.

FILE: Equipment used for the extraction of natural gas is viewed at a hydraulic fracturing site. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - The rights of private landowners and the risk of water contamination have emerged as burning issues at a public meeting on shale gas exploration in Laingsburg.

Falcon Oil and Gas wants government's permission to begin shale gas exploration in the Karoo.

As part of its application, the company has released its revised environmental management programme for public comment.

Falcon CEO Phillip O'Quigley spoke to around two dozen locals in Laingsburg yesterday about his company's exploration programme.

But his audience was mostly concerned about the possibility of fracking on their land.

O'Quigley says his company will cooperate with private landowners.

But he concedes some disputes over land use could end up in court.