Fracking notice placed in Gov Gazette

Commenting on the speculation that Minister Edna Molewa has authorised fracking, Jonathan Deal, CEO of TKAG stated that TKAG viewed the Minister’s activity as positive in connection with fracking. “Essentially all that the Minister is saying is that her house is in order when she is required to deal with water use applications in connection with fracking.”

“She cannot authorise fracking exploration. That licence will emanate from the DMR in terms of the MPRDA. We wish that other departments would take a leaf out of Minister Molewa’s book.”

  • Article rank
  • 4 Sep 2013
  • The Star Early Edition

Fracking notice placed in Gazette

A NOTICE of intention to declare fracking a controlled activity has been gazetted, Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said in Pretoria yesterday. “What this means is that fracking becomes a water use, thus requiring a water use licence.”

The notice, in terms of the National Water Act, was gazetted on August 23, and allowed 60 days for public comment. Molewa said objectivity was needed on the issue.

“I would like to be as objective as possible to find the best mechanism that can be applied to take the country forward without damaging water resources,” she said.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the process of fracturing rock by a pressurised liquid to extract natural gas from shale rock layers deep within the earth.

When considering licences, Molewa said, only issues around water resources would be considered. “As such, we will take every precaution to ensure that the possible impact of fracking on our water is carefully managed and minimised.”

A year ago, the cabinet agreed to lift the moratorium on applications to explore for shale gas in the Karoo using the fracking method.

The decision was based on recommendations contained in a report on shale gas exploration prepared by a technical task team, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said in September last year.

Last month, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said the government could authorise shale gas exploration before next year’s elections. “Of course we are not going to do this in any kind of irresponsible way,” he said.

“We obviously have to bear in mind all the environmental implications including, of course, the nature of the relationships with any company that gets any kind of permit – what is going to be the delivery in terms of any positive impact on the economy?”

The Alliance Against Fracking in SA said last month it believed the country’s laws were “inadequate to control an industry with a severely tarnished reputation and the process of fracking”.

Treasure Karoo Action Group chairman Jonathan Deal said last month the government had largely relied on research commissioned by the Mineral Resources Department to investigate the potential consequences of fracking. – Sapa

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