ReconAfrica gets go-ahead for Kavango exploration

20 November 2020 | Local News

KENYA KAMBOWE



RUNDU

The exploration of oil and gas in the Kavango East by Reconnaissance Energy Africa (ReconAfrica), which has been widely criticised, will continue as planned.

This follows a five-hour meeting in Rundu yesterday, where issues concerning some stakeholders were ironed out and the way forward charted.

For months, allegations did the rounds that ReconAfrica lacked the required permits and that the company planned to carry out hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.

The Kavango East Region Farmers Union (KERFU) and the Kavango East and West Regional Conservancy and Community Forest Association recently wrote letters to Kavango East regional governor Bonifatius Wakudumo, seeking an audience over the matter.

In their letters, the institutions complained that the community was not consulted and that the interests and rights of their members were being trampled upon.

Concerns about damaging the environment were also raised.

Destroying habitat

“Where oil and gas mining have taken place, it has destroyed the habitat and contaminated ground water reservoirs, which have rendered such areas agriculturally unproductive and unconducive for human settlement,” KERFU chairperson, Adolf Muremi,wrote in a letter dated 27 October.

Yesterday, these concerns were put to bed after facts were presented during the marathon meeting, during which all parties agreed that there was no danger regarding the planned operations.

It was also confirmed that ReconAfrica will not be conducting fracking.

Mines minister Tom Alweendo as well as the local leadership of ReconAfrica attended the meeting.

Not mining but exploring

It was made clear that ReconAfrica will not mine oil, but rather explore whether oil and gas are to be found in the area concerned.

The stakeholders were united in the hope that oil is discovered, which will have a positive impact on the economy.

While many stakeholders said they did not understand the process as they only read negative headlines about the project in the media, ReconAfrica deputy general manager Yuri Martinez and Alweendo’s delegation schooled the concerned groups on what the project entails.

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