Public consultations on draft regulations for shale gas exploration will begin in September, the mineral resources department announced.
In a brief, department director general, Thibedi Ramontja, told Parliament’s Mineral Resources Portfolio Committee that the technical regulations on fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, would be finalised following the consultation process.
“That process, once that is done, it will be a very important process because it’s going to engage applicants,” Ramontja said.
The final regulations would be followed by the processing and issuing of licences.
Applicants would be bound by strict regulations to ensure government mitigated against any environmental impact, including the contamination of ground water.
“I am confident that in the event there are problems, they will be picked up quickly if there’s any threat to water in that area [Karoo],” Ramontja said.
“I’m confident water will be protected.”
Fracking is the process of fracturing rock by pumping pressurised liquid deep into the ground to extract natural gas trapped in shale layers.