An anti-fracking coalition with the United States non-governmental organisation Water Defense is the first step towards a global movement, the Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG) said on Thursday.

“We are putting a very strong emphasis on getting this not only to America but to other continents too,” chairman Jonathan Deal said.

“We're looking at capitalising on global synergy and our ability to really focus pressure on where it's needed at certain times.”

Deal said any lessons learned or research discovered would be shared. If fracking was proposed in a country, the coalition would offer all forms of support to fight it.

Fracking involves injecting millions of litres of water, chemicals and sand into the earth at high pressure to free pockets of natural gas.

The TKAG believed this would harm the sensitive Karoo environment and poison underground water.

The group announced a coalition with Water Defense earlier on Thursday.

Deal would take up a non-executive director's seat on its board while the head of the US body, actor Mark Ruffalo, would do the same for TKAG.

Deal said Water Defense was a portal to access US citizens and their goodwill.

Ruffalo said he would ensure fundraising efforts were directed where they were most needed.

“Fracking is a global threat and it requires a global response. A year ago, because of what was happening in the US, South Africans were able to alert their government to the risks of fracking, and they succeeded in putting the brakes on the process in their country,” he said.

“Now there is international interest in what happens with licence applications to frack in South Africa.”

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu set up a task team in April to investigate the impact of fracking.

In August, she extended a moratorium in applications for licences to prospect for shale gas using fracking for a further six months.

According to Shabangu, the task team was expected to forward its report to Cabinet by March 31. - Sapa