The Globe and Mail reports in its Saturday edition that Reconnaissance Energy Africa, a Canadian oil junior, will soon dispatch seismic tractors to survey hundreds of kilometres of Namibian plains for what might be one of the world's biggest new oil developments. The Globe's Geoffrey York and Emma Graney write that the project, still in its exploration drilling phase, has become a global controversy, with Namibia's endangered elephants at the heart of it. This sparsely populated corner of Southern Africa is now a battleground between a Calgary-based ReconAfrica and an informal coalition of environmentalists, Hollywood celebrities, indigenous activists, wildlife conservationists and Anglican bishops. Critics warn the oil development could damage a sensitive environment, threaten indigenous culture and jeopardize the rivers of a watershed area that leads into the fabled Okavango Delta and its vast gatherings of wildlife. ReconAfrica and the Namibian government reject these allegations, saying ReconAfrica's exploration work is careful and measured, and is Namibia's best hope for escaping poverty and generating desperately needed jobs and energy. The battle, however, is heating up, with angry protests and petitions.
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