THE government has placed a freeze on applications for rights to explore for shale gas in the Karoo until it has formulated a policy about it — a process expected to take several months.
No new applications would be accepted and existing applications would not be finalised until the Department of Mineral Resources had conducted a feasibility study, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said last week. Her statement cleared up confusion over whether the moratorium on licence applications applied only to new applications.
Two weeks ago the Cabinet decided the Department of Mineral Resources would lead a multidisciplinary team including the departments of trade and industry, science and technology, and others, "to fully research the full implications of the proposed fracking. Cabinet has made it very clear that (a) clean environment (and) all the ecological aspects will not be compromised."