South Africa's mining minister said on Monday he expected to start issuing shale exploration licences later this year.
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"At the moment we are going through the consultation process (with stakeholders such as communities)," Ngoako Ramatlhodi told Reuters on the sidelines of the Chatham House extractive Industries in Africa conference.
"We should finish the consultations by the middle of this year and that will enable us to issue licences."
Earlier in the day, Royal Dutch Shell had said it would pull back from shale projects in South Africa citing licence delays.
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Shell said it was pulling back due to lower energy prices and delays in obtaining an exploration licence for the onshore Karoo Basin.