The task team investigating hydraulic fracturing in the Karoo recommended that a conditional approval of the controversial method be granted.
Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu released the executive summary and recommendations of the report on Tuesday.
According to the released document the task team said the other two options of either an outright ban on hydraulic fracturing or outright approval were considered to be “extremes” and not suitable.
The task team recommended that “normal” exploration should be allowed such as geological filed mapping‚ and other data gathering activities such as hydrological studies under the existing regulatory framework.
The second recommendation was that a monitoring committee should be constituted to ensure a comprehensive and co-ordinate augmentation of the regulatory framework and supervision of operations.
The team then recommended the establishment of appropriate regulations‚ controls and co-ordination systems over a period of six to 12 months.
It recommended that the departments of science and technology and mineral resources develop a mechanism to collaborate in ensuring that co-existence of the astronomy research projects and development of shale gas in the Karoo.
The task team report says that only once all the above recommendations have been completed‚ should hydraulic fracturing be allowed under strict supervision of the monitoring committee.
“In the event of any unacceptable outcomes‚ the process may be halted‚” the recommendation said.
The task team recommended that research in to the methodologies for hydraulic fracturing and environmental impact be ongoing.
The final recommendation was that the proposed conditional approval must be properly resourced.