According to the mineral resources department, the search of shale gas in the Karoo could begin as soon as mid-2016. The deputy director general for mineral and policy Mosa Mabuza has said that hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, could start 12 to 18 months after licences are issued. It is being said that licences could be issued by July / August 2015.
There has been considerable opposition to plans to explore for what are believed to be considerable deposits of shale gas in the Karoo, including concerns about contamination of the region’s scarce water resources.
The exploration includes hydraulic fracturing, the same process used to extract the gas.
Ramontja said that after consultations with communities, the department would focus – over the period February to June next year – on re-processing applications to explore for shale gas.
“Our intention is that by July-August next year, we will be issuing exploration licences, beyond which the shale gas exploration shall duly commence.”