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Omgewingsmagtigings vir natuurlike gaseksplorasie op 2,4 miljoen hektaar (and English)

9 Oktober/October 2017
Agri SA Media Release/Persverklaring

Die departement van minerale hulpbronne (DMR) het onlangs omgewingsmagtigings aan Rhino Oil and Gas Exploration South Africa (Rhino) uitgereik vir natuurlike gaseksplorasie in vier provinsies.

Agri SA neem met groot kommer kennis van hierdie besluit. Die gebied wat deur hierdie magtigings geraak word, strek oor die Oos-Kaap, Vrystaat, Noordwes en KwaZulu-Natal en ongeveer 2,4 miljoen hektaar.

Omgewingsmagtiging ingevolge die Nasionale Wet op Omgewingsbestuur (Nema) is ‘n voorvereiste vir die vergunning van eksplorasieregte ingevolge die Wet op Minerale- en Petroleumhulpbronontwikkeling.

Die publiek kry ‘n tydperk van 20 dae vanaf die datum waarop kennis gegee is van die uitreiking van die omgewingsmagtiging om daarteen te appelleer. Dit beteken dat aansoeke om beswaar te maak teen elkeen van die omgewingsmagtigings by die departement van omgewingssake op of voor 22 Oktober ingedien moet word.

Volgens Rhino se omgewingskonsultante, SLR, sal die beoogde eksplorasiebedrywighede geen werklike hidrouliese breking (fracking) op hierdie stadium insluit nie. Die huidige regulasies wat olie- en gasontwikkeling in Suid-Afrika beheer gee egter aan die houer van ‘n eksplorasiereg die eksklusiewe reg om aansoek te doen vir en ‘n produksiereg te verkry wat wel uiteindelik tot volskaalse hidrouliese breking sal lei.

Janse Rabie, hoof van natuurlike hulpbronne by Agri SA, sê dit is noodsaaklik dat belanghebbendes uit die staanspoor aan besluitneming wat skaliegasontwikkeling betref, moet deelneem om te verseker dat sinvolle insette gelewer word oor hierdie hoogs omstrede en verdelende kwessie.

Agri SA kan nie die regering se klaarblyklike voorneme om ‘n volskaalse natuurlike gasbedryf in Suid-Afrika te skep, ondersteun nie, gegewe heersende onsekerheid, veral oor beskikbaarheid van water, asook grond- en lugbesoedeling.

Rabie het ‘n beroep gedoen op die publiek om deel te neem en kommentaar te lewer op elkeen van die aansoeke om omgewingsmagtigings ten opsigte van skaliegasontwikkeling wat tans landswyd hangend is. Rhino se aansoek is een van talle en dit is belangrik om op elk van die individuele aansoeke kommentaar te lewer.

Uitgereik deur Agri SA, Direktoraat: Korporatiewe Skakeling

Environmental authorisations granted for natural gas exploration on 2.4 million hectares

The department of mineral resources (DMR) recently granted environmental authorisations to Rhino Oil and Gas Exploration South Africa (Rhino) for natural gas exploration across four provinces.

Agri SA notes this decision with grave concern. The area affected by these authorisations spans across the Eastern Cape, Free State, North West and KwaZulu-Natal provinces and measures approximately 2.4 million hectares.

Environmental authorisation in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (Nema) is a prerequisite for granting exploration rights for natural gas in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act.

The public is afforded an opportunity of 20 days from the date of the notification of the granting of the environmental authorisations to appeal the environmental authorisations.  This means that appeals on each of the environmental authorisations will have to be submitted to the Department of Environmental Affairs on or before 22 October. There might not be another opportunity to appeal against this decision later in the process.

According to Rhino’s environmental consultants, SLR, the intended exploration activities will not include any actual hydraulic fracturing at this stage. However, the current regulatory regime governing oil and gas development in South Africa grants the holder of an exploration right the exclusive entitlement to apply for and be granted a production right which may well ultimately result in full-scale fracking.

Janse Rabie, head of natural resources at Agri SA, says it is imperative that interested and affected parties participate in the decision-making processes on shale gas development from the outset to ensure that meaningful input is given on this highly contentious and divisive issue.

Agri SA maintains that given uncertainties relating particularly to water availability and water, soil and air pollution, it cannot support government’s seeming intention to create a full-scale natural gas industry in South Africa.

Rabie urges the public to participate and comment on each of the applications for environmental authorisation with respect to shale gas development that are presently pending throughout the country. Rhino’s application is one of several and it is important to comment on each individual application.

Issued by Agri SA, Directorate: Corporate Liaison