File photo: Anti Fracking protestors march in Cape Town. Picture: Brenton Geach

Cape Town - Environmental concerns about exploratory fracking for shale gas in the Karoo must be balanced against the economic benefits it could bring, the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) said on Friday.

“The potential environmental consequences must be balanced against the economic benefits that would accrue to the country should it become more self-reliant in terms of energy resources,” Sacci CEO Neren Rau said in a statement.

Sacci supported the fact that companies wanting to undertake shale gas exploration would have to comply with stringent South African environmental impact assessment standards.

This, Rau said, would “alleviate anxieties relating to fracking from an environmental perspective”.

Sacci believed that apart from making South Africa less reliant on imported energy, the benefits of exploiting shale gas would include the creation of sorely-needed jobs. - Sapa