S. Africa may halt shale gas work if it pollutes water – minister

S. Africa may halt shale gas work if it pollutes water – minister by Wendell Roelf; Editing by Agnieszka Flak and Anthony Barker, September 11, 2012, Reuters
Evidence of water contamination would be grounds for South Africa to halt exploration for shale gas in its semi-arid Karoo region, the mines minister said, addressing fears its decision to develop the abundant resource could harm the environment. … The government said in a report released on Tuesday that other concerns included the amount of water required for fracking, as water is scarce in the Karoo. … “If the process is such that there is a threat to water in South Africa we will have to stop the process,” Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu told journalists on Tuesday. The government report said hydrological studies would be conducted to minimise potential impacts on other users. The studies would also examine whether fracking would cause excessive dust that could disable the “Square Kilometre Array” (SKA) telescope, which will be located in the same area. South Africa in May won the rights to host the $2 billion radio telescope, the world’s biggest, along with Australia and New Zealand. “If there is going to be a negative impact on the SKA which cannot be mitigated, we may have to halt the process,” Shabangu said. [Emphasis added]

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