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Govt announces start of fracking assessment in Karoo

Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said the process should take around two years.

FILE: Government's announced the start of a process to determine the environmental impact as well as social benefit of fracking in the Karoo. Picture: supplied

JOHANNESBURG - Government's announced the start of a process to determine the environmental impact as well as social benefit of fracking in the Karoo.

Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said the process should take around two years.

Pandor briefed the media in Pretoria on the details of the strategic environmental assessment of shale gas, which will take place over the next two years.

"The environmental assessment will consider both exploration and production related activities including the process of hydraulic fracturing and will include an assessment of all material, social, economic and biophysical risks."

There has been strong opposition to hydraulic fracturing or 'fracking'.

Fracking is a controversial means of extracting natural gas deposits from rock formations.

Pandor said this process was initiated to address the dearth of information on fracking in South Africa and will help government make responsible decisions.

Pandor said the discovery of significant shale deposits could be huge beneficial for the country.

"Not only could the exploitation of the deposits of lower carbon shale gas result in the provision of affordable and safe energy, it is also a potential source of job creation, generation of foreign revenue and investment."