|April 23, 2011
Government halts Shell's Karoo gas plans
Plans by the oil firm Shell to extract natural gas from the Karoo desert by using a method known as "fracking" have been stopped by the government until the ecological consequences will been studied, the South African cabinet announced. Several government departments will lead the research into whether the semi-arid Karoo region could be damaged by "fracking". The process of "fracking" involves pumping pressurised water, sand and chemicals into the ground to extract the gas.
Experts have also warned it could put an end to South Africa's bid to host the world's biggest radio telescope. The Square Kilometre Array telescope, a multi-million dollar project which could begin construction in 2016, requires an absence of radio interference, which the fracking may cause.