Fracking fears for Umvoti farmers

2015-10-21 06:00

THROUGHOUT the world fracking is met with controversy - those who are against the technique and those who are in favour.

Now it is been looked at in the KZN Midlands – 10 000 farms covering­ nearly 16% of the province, have been listed by the Rhino Oil and Gas, a Texas-based petroleum­ exploration company, for early-phase exploration for oil and gas over a three-year period.

The company does not rule out fracking if it finds commercial reserves of gas, methane or helium and Greytown, New Hanover and Kranskop areas are included.

Fracking is the process of drilling into the Earth, up to six kilometres down, before a high pressure water­ mix is directed at the rock to release gas inside.

Water, sand and toxic chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well.

Fracking to recover natural shale gas is opposed throughout the world on ecological, health, social and economic grounds.

The risk of contamination of groundwater in an already water-stressed environment in KZN is regarded as unacceptable.

A KZN Kwanalu spokesman said the potential impact of fracking on the natural resources and productive agricultural land were of extreme concern.

It would not provide any solutions, but a reverse to the problems of high unemployment, shrinking agricultural land and food insecurity­.

Conservancies in the area, Midlands­ and Dargle have issued statements of concern and point out that even initial exploration could be detrimental to an already fragile water supply.

An independent environmental assessment company has been appointed to undertake the public participation aspect.

As far as Umvoti is concerned there are two public scoping meetings which must be attended by all interested parties:

Thursday 5 November: 9.30am at New Hanover public hall.

Thursday 5 Novmeber: 2.30pm at Greytown Lodge conference hall (Voortrekker Street)

All stakeholders and interested and affected parties are invited to attend and register at the meeting

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