Johannesburg - South Africa's cabinet on Thursday proposed new regulations to govern exploration for shale gas, an important step in opening up an industry that could provide new energy supplies for Africa's largest economy.
South Africa last year lifted a moratorium on shale gas exploration in its Karoo region, where fracking might tap what is believed to be some of the world's biggest reserves of the energy source.
The sparsely populated Karoo is renowned for its rugged scenery and is home to species such as the mountain zebra and riverine rabbit, one of the rarest mammals in the world.
The government signaled on Thursday it was keen to start exploiting the resource.
“Not only does the potential of shale gas exploration and exploitation provide an opportunity for us to begin production of our own fuel, but it also marks the beginning of the reindustrialization of the South African economy,” Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said in a statement.