15/11/2010 Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu during a media breakfast briefing held at Pretoria Gauteng. (169) Photo: Leon Nicholas

Cape Town - Government will move ahead “decisively, yet responsibly” with exploring for shale gas, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the official opening of the Investing in African Mining Indaba in Cape Town, she said final regulations in this regard would be released shortly.

“Government is excited about major game-changing discoveries of untapped potential for petroleum development, spanning both off-shore and on-shore, including shale gas.”

In respect of shale gas, the geology indicated there could be as much as 485 trillion cubic feet of shale gas trapped in the Karoo rock formations.

“We will move ahead decisively, yet responsibly, with the exploration of shale gas, and to unleash its potential contribution to, among others, cost-competitive energy security, employment creation and a range of other latent benefits to the country,” she said.

The indaba has attracted about 8000 delegates, representing 2100 companies and 110 countries.

It is billed as the world's biggest mining investment event.

The event ends on Thursday. - Sapa