Last update:

ALTO MAIPO Hydroelectric Project (PHAM), Chile


"ALTO MAIPO Hydroelectric Project" (PHAM) of AES GENER and Luksic group is intended to channel the water of the main river that supplies water to the Capital city of Chile, Santiago. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) signed a $195 million loan agreement with Alto Maipo Spa, owned by AES Gener (60 percent) and Antofagasta Minerals (40 percent), as part of a financing package of more than $1.2 billion for the Alto Maipo Hydroelectric Project. The project is cofinanced by the International Finance Corporation, the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation and six commercial banks. The total project cost will be roughly $2 billion, 60 percent in the form of debt and the remaining 40 percent in equity.

See more
Basic Data
Name of conflict:ALTO MAIPO Hydroelectric Project (PHAM), Chile
State or province:Provincia Cordillera, Región Metropolitana
Location of conflict:Cajon del Maipo (High Maipo River Watershed), Comuna de San José de Maipo, Santiago.
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Water access rights and entitlements
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Building materials extraction (quarries, sand, gravel)
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The associated infrastructure involves (among others): 2 run-of-the-river centrals; 70 km of an abduction tunnel of 6-8 mt. in diameter; 4 water intakes; several siphons; one electrical substation; power transmission lines; charging cameras; 14 marine stockpile sites; use of trains, Tolva lorries, TBM machines, etc., etc. The installed project capacity is 530 MW but the actual power generation capacity is 160 MW. This energy will go integrally to Minera Los Pelambres (Luksic group) in the north of Chile.

Level of Investment for the conflictive project900,000,000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:7,000,000
Start of the conflict:06/05/2007
Company names or state enterprises:ANTOFAGASTA MINERALS (Grupo Luksic) from Chile
Aguas Andinas from Chile
AES Gener from Chile
International and Finance InstitutionsOverseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) from United States of America
Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)
Corporación financiera Internacional (CFI)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Coordinadora Ciudadana Ríos del Maipo, Ecosistemas, Observatorio Latinoamericano de Conflictos Ambientales (OLCA), Greenpeace
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Social movements
Trade unions
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Shareholder/financial activism.
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Fires, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Oil spills, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Other Environmental impactsGlacier melting acceleration; affectation to priority sites for biodiversity conservation and natural monuments.
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Deaths, Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsincreased heat stress
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood
Other socio-economic impactsloss of local economy based on tourism due to degradation of landscape and of the river.
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Land demarcation
Court decision (undecided)
Withdrawal of company/investment
In 2011, a commission of inquiry of the Chamber of Deputies determined that the project was approved with irregularities, but nothing happened and now is starting to be built
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:In 2011, a commission of inquiry of the Chamber of Deputies determined that the project was approved with irregularities, but nothing happened and now is starting to be built. The use of water for energy for mining projects is above (more important) than the human and animal right to water. Local communities and territory are impacted and the benefits fly to other parts of the country.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

“Dams and Markets: Rivers and Electric Power in Chile”, Natural Resources Journal VOL 49 Summer-Fall 2009“, por Carl J. Bauer, profesor asociado de la Escuela de Geografía y Desarrollo de la Universidad de Arizona, Tucson, Arizona (see attachment)

“Searching for a Miracle – ‘Net Energy’ Limits & the Fate of Industrial Society” por Richard Heinberg, International Forum on Globalization and the Post Carbon Institute, False Solutions Series # 4, September 2009
[click to view]

Funpage No AltoMaipo
[click to view]

Twitter No AltoMaipo
[click to view]

Official web page of the conflict
[click to view]

Mobilization news
[click to view]

Mobilization news
[click to view]

IADB website
[click to view]

[click to view]

Radio UChile
[click to view]

Radio UChile, "Las Aguas del Maipo son un tesoro", por Juan Pablo Orrego
[click to view]

El Ciudadano "Alto Maipo: Si el río suena… represas trae"
[click to view]

El Desconcierto, "El agua de Santiago en Riesgo… AltoMaipo y el fin del Cajón"

Por Tomás González, Miembro de la Coordinadora Ciudadana Ríos del Maipo
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Official video: Voces por los ríos libres.NO Alto Maipo
[click to view]

Meta information
Last update03/05/2014
Conflict ID:1129
Legal notice / Aviso legal
We use cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. By clicking "Accept cookies" you consent to place cookies when visiting the website. For more information, and to find out how to change the configuration of cookies, please read our cookie policy. Utilizamos cookies para realizar el análisis de la navegación de los usuarios y mejorar nuestros servicios. Al pulsar "Accept cookies" consiente dichas cookies. Puede obtener más información, o bien conocer cómo cambiar la configuración, pulsando en más información.