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Centre for Environmental Rights – Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

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Environmental justice by advocating for better environmental laws and improved implementation of laws.

Proposed shale gas exploration in the Karoo

Shell and a few other companies have applied for exploration rights in respect of large areas of the Karoo which will, if granted, involve hydraulic fracturing.

Following the submission of the applications, the Minister of Mineral Resources declared a moratorium on the processing of new applications for exploration and production rights in respect of the Karoo. The moratorium does not affect the applications that have already been submitted, on the condition that no hydraulic fracturing may take place if those rights are granted until regulations have been published for the onshore unconventional gas exploration and production.

On 3 June 2015, the Minister of Mineral Resources published the Regulations for Petroleum Exploration and Production. However, Treasure the Karoo Action Group is challenging the legality of those regulations in the High Court. The CER commented on a draft version of the Regulations.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), in collaboration with various specialists and organs of state, is conducting a strategic environmental assessment for shale gas development in the Karoo.