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Concern Over Fracking Africa’s Heritage Sites

ReconAfrica believes the Kavango Basin in Namibia and Botswana could generate billions of barrels of oil, but environmentalists and Indigenous leaders want the area to remain untouched. The Okavango delta – a World Heritage site recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – is also pivotal to the water supply for the Kalahari Desert, and its unique ecosystems draw large numbers of tourists eager to explore its biodiversity each year. The region holds sacred meaning for the San, an Indigenous group that is considered one of the original inhabitants of the Southern African region. In January, Reconnaissance Energy Africa (ReconAfrica) started drilling on the first of three wells, stating on its website that the firm “believes the Kavango Basin is another world class Permian basin, analogous to the Permian basin in Texas”, capable of generating billions of barrels of oil. The drilling of the boreholes for oil exploration can threaten the ecosystem through potential oil spillage, noise pollution and water contamination, said Jan Arkert, a South African-based engineering geologist with the firm Africa Exposed Consulting Engineering Geologists.