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Minister of Mineral Resources publishes draft regulations on fracking for comment

15 October 2013 at 9:52 pm

On 15 October 2013, the Minister of Mineral Resources gazetted the Proposed Technical Regulations for Petroleum Exploration and Exploitation under s.107(1) of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 2002. Comments may be submitted for 30 days from 15 October 2013. In response to our enquiry, the DMR advised that it will strictly apply the Interpretation Act, 1957 and count calendar days only. The DMR’s deadline for comments on the 38-page draft regulations is therefore 14 November 2013.

On 23 August 2013, the Minister of Water Affairs gazetted the Proposed Declaration of the Exploration for and Production of Onshore Unconventional Oil or Gas Resources or any Activities Related Thereto Including but not Limited to Hydraulic Fracturing as a Controlled Activity under the National Water Act, 1998. Comments on this proposed declaration can be submitted for 60 days from 23 August 2013. This declaration would mean that hydraulic fracturing per se (not just water use as otherwise defined by the National Water Act associated with fracking) is regarded as a “water use” (s.21(e)) which must be authorised under the National Water Act (s.37(2)). In contrast with the DMR’s approach, the DWA has advised that it will count working days for the prescribed 60 day period. The DWA’s deadline for comments on this 1-page draft declaration is therefore 15 November 2013.

All interested and affected parties are encouraged to submit comments on these documents, including the proposed declaration by the Minister of Water Affairs. Read more about proposed shale gas exploration and hydraulic fracturing, including the CER’s own advocacy and access to information work, here.