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Pictures | Mon Oct 28, 2013 | 12:00pm EDT

Fracking fears in South Africa

<p>Rain clouds hang over the Karoo near Graaff-Reinet October 26, 2013. Stretching across the heart of South Africa, the Karoo has stirred emotions for centuries, a stunning semi-desert wilderness fit mainly for artists, hunters and the toughest of farmers. It is now rousing less romantic passions. If energy companies and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) get their way, it will soon be home to scientists and geologists mapping out shale gas fields touted as game-changers for Africa's biggest economy, and working out whether fracking will work here. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings</p>

Rain clouds hang over the Karoo near Graaff-Reinet October 26, 2013. Stretching across the heart of South Africa, the Karoo has stirred emotions for centuries, a stunning semi-desert wilderness fit mainly for artists, hunters and the toughest of...more

Rain clouds hang over the Karoo near Graaff-Reinet October 26, 2013. Stretching across the heart of South Africa, the Karoo has stirred emotions for centuries, a stunning semi-desert wilderness fit mainly for artists, hunters and the toughest of farmers. It is now rousing less romantic passions. If energy companies and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) get their way, it will soon be home to scientists and geologists mapping out shale gas fields touted as game-changers for Africa's biggest economy, and working out whether fracking will work here. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

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<p>Spring flowers blossom in an arid landscape near Laingsburg in the Karoo October 11, 2013.   REUTERS/Mike Hutchings</p>

Spring flowers blossom in an arid landscape near Laingsburg in the Karoo October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Spring flowers blossom in an arid landscape near Laingsburg in the Karoo October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

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<p>A man carries wire baskets he hopes to sell to tourists in the small town of Nieu-Bethesda in the Karoo October 10, 2013.    REUTERS/Mike Hutchings</p>

A man carries wire baskets he hopes to sell to tourists in the small town of Nieu-Bethesda in the Karoo October 10, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

A man carries wire baskets he hopes to sell to tourists in the small town of Nieu-Bethesda in the Karoo October 10, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

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<p>Game farmer Hennie Barnard looks out over his land near Aberdeen in the Karoo October 10, 2013.   REUTERS/Mike Hutchings</p>

Game farmer Hennie Barnard looks out over his land near Aberdeen in the Karoo October 10, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Game farmer Hennie Barnard looks out over his land near Aberdeen in the Karoo October 10, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

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<p>Piet Makwena waters his cabbages in a township in Nieu-Bethesda, the Karoo October 27, 2013.   REUTERS/Mike Hutchings</p>

Piet Makwena waters his cabbages in a township in Nieu-Bethesda, the Karoo October 27, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Piet Makwena waters his cabbages in a township in Nieu-Bethesda, the Karoo October 27, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

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<p>People walk past a derelict building in Nieu-Bethesda in the Karoo October 27, 2013.        REUTERS/Mike Hutchings</p>

People walk past a derelict building in Nieu-Bethesda in the Karoo October 27, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

People walk past a derelict building in Nieu-Bethesda in the Karoo October 27, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

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<p>Farm laborer Lano Williams (C) and construction worker Marno Koopman (L) tend to cart horses in a township outside Nieu-Bethesda in the Karoo October 27, 2013.    REUTERS/Mike Hutchings</p>

Farm laborer Lano Williams (C) and construction worker Marno Koopman (L) tend to cart horses in a township outside Nieu-Bethesda in the Karoo October 27, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Farm laborer Lano Williams (C) and construction worker Marno Koopman (L) tend to cart horses in a township outside Nieu-Bethesda in the Karoo October 27, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

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<p>Farm labourer Lano Williams repairs his horse cart in a township outside Nieu-Bethesda in the Karoo October 27, 2013.    REUTERS/Mike Hutchings</p>

Farm labourer Lano Williams repairs his horse cart in a township outside Nieu-Bethesda in the Karoo October 27, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Farm labourer Lano Williams repairs his horse cart in a township outside Nieu-Bethesda in the Karoo October 27, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

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<p>A child carries water in Nieu-Bethesda in the Karoo October 27, 2013.     REUTERS/Mike Hutchings</p>

A child carries water in Nieu-Bethesda in the Karoo October 27, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

A child carries water in Nieu-Bethesda in the Karoo October 27, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

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<p>Sparse vegetation stands in an arid landscape near Aberdeen in the Karoo October 11, 2013.         REUTERS/Mike Hutchings</p>

Sparse vegetation stands in an arid landscape near Aberdeen in the Karoo October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Sparse vegetation stands in an arid landscape near Aberdeen in the Karoo October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

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<p>Cracked earth marks a dried-up watering hole on a farm near Aberdeen in the Karoo October 11, 2013.    REUTERS/Mike Hutchings</p>

Cracked earth marks a dried-up watering hole on a farm near Aberdeen in the Karoo October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Cracked earth marks a dried-up watering hole on a farm near Aberdeen in the Karoo October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

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<p>Antelope bones are scattered across an arid landscape near Aberdeen in the Karoo October 11, 2013.          REUTERS/Mike Hutchings</p>

Antelope bones are scattered across an arid landscape near Aberdeen in the Karoo October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Antelope bones are scattered across an arid landscape near Aberdeen in the Karoo October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

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<p>Sheep gather around a watering hole near Aberdeen in the Karoo October 11, 2013.   REUTERS/Mike Hutchings</p>

Sheep gather around a watering hole near Aberdeen in the Karoo October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Sheep gather around a watering hole near Aberdeen in the Karoo October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

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<p>Sheep gather around a watering hole near Aberdeen in the Karoo October 11, 2013.       REUTERS/Mike Hutchings</p>

Sheep gather around a watering hole near Aberdeen in the Karoo October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Sheep gather around a watering hole near Aberdeen in the Karoo October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

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<p>A windmill pumps water from a borehole near Graaf Reinet in the Karoo October 11, 2013.  REUTERS/Mike Hutchings</p>

A windmill pumps water from a borehole near Graaf Reinet in the Karoo October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

A windmill pumps water from a borehole near Graaf Reinet in the Karoo October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

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<p>The sun sets over a road near Graaff Reinet in the Karoo October 11, 2013.  REUTERS/Mike Hutchings</p>

The sun sets over a road near Graaff Reinet in the Karoo October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

The sun sets over a road near Graaff Reinet in the Karoo October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

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