21 November 2013, Gaborone – This week it emerged that Botswana has granted concessions to drill for natural gas over large tracts of land: an operation which, it’s claimed, is being carried out largely without public knowledge or consultation.
The government of Botswana’s response has been confusing, to say the least. First it said it wasn’t allowing any fracking yet, only exploring. Then it admitted it had allowed certain “types” of fracking. The makers and funders of a new documentary on the subject say that in any case, it’s unacceptable that no public debate on the matter has happened before gas exploration started.
Filmmaker Jeffrey Barbee was shocked when he first realised the scale of gas operations in Botswana. A map on the government’s website indicating the distribution of concessions given to multinational energy companies reveals that a good chunk of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) is covered, and it appears that part of the Chobe National Park is too. Among the companies given permission to drill for coal bed methane are SASOL, Anglo American, Exxaro, Kalahari Energy and others.
– Rebecca Davis, Daily Maverick
These concessions fall on environmentally vital lands. The CKGR is the second-largest wildlife reserve in the world, as well as being…