The government has given the go-ahead for shale gas development in the Karoo region, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane (pictured left) said on Thursday.

He revealed this during a community engagement on shale gas development in Richmond, in the Northern Cape, according to www.news24.com

"Based on the balance of available scientific evidence, government took a decision to proceed with the development of shale gas in the Karoo formation of South Africa," he said in a speech.

He said the regulatory framework would ensure that shale gas was "orderly and safely developed" through hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking.

"The finalisation of Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA) amendments will also help to expedite the development of shale gas," Zwane said.

The department estimated that up to 50 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of shale gas was recoverable in the Karoo Basin, especially in the Eastern, Northern, and Western Cape provinces.

He said it was in their interests to ensure all South Africans benefited socially and economically from the mineral wealth.

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