Many folk, including ourselves, are concerned about the impact the proposed gas fracking in the Karoo will have on this semi-arid environment.  Having seen the “fracking fields” of the Dakotas, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico at first hand we have become even more alarmed. Definitely not a pretty sight but when it comes to financial returns on this scale these developments (destruction) have a habit of going ahead!  ‘In the national interest’ becomes a battle-cry for governments and their business partners.  In the Karoo one can only wonder where the water will come from to aid this exploitation- no one has as yet explained this in any detail. And then of course what happens to the diminishing ground water sources when it starts to receive the fracking chemicals.

Then we have the growth of wind- and solar-farms, the alternative energy sources we are told.  They certainly don’t look pretty, unless you happen to be an engineer, but rather this than fracking we say!


Well, it seems that what will not be fracked in the Karoo will have the dubious benefit of uranium mining, especially in the vicinity of Beaufort West and the high Karoo plateau between Carnarvon and Victoria West. A processing plant will soon be opened near Beaufort West and mining started below the escarpment; the high plateau will get its turn when those resources start to run low and if the uranium price increases.  In part it involves opencast mining, the rest pit mining. Whoever has seen a large opencast mine, such as that at Rössing in Namibia, will know that it is not a pretty sight!


Until recently, pointed out by Mathilde to the company doing the environmental impact assessment, they were not even aware that some of this mining, which of course involves blasting, falls within the exclusion zone of the “square kilometre array” SKA – the much vaunted radio-telescope system shared with Australia, and other countries, and funded mainly by the European Union!  No mining allowed but the mining company claims they did the prospecting before SKA was finalised, therefore they have first rights! 

(c) SKA South Africa

So many conflicts of interest, so many fingers in the lucrative pies! The pigs look forward to feeding at the brimming trough; or will they start to cannibalise each other when the trough fails to fill.