The Balbina dam is operated by Eletronorte and was inaugurated in 1989. It came as part of a national integration and economic growth offensive (the Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento, PAC) that was pushed forward by Brazil’s military government in the 1960s and 1970s in the Northern Amazon. The start of dam constructions in 1979 followed the controversial construction of the BR-174 highway (see related case entry in the EJAtlas) that cut through dense rainforest and the land of the Waimiri Atroari community (self-denomination: Kinja), which had so far been living rather isolated and whose presence was seen as disturbing. At the point of dam construction, the Balbina area was inhabited by riverine communities along the Uatumã as well as the Waimiri Atroari indigenous group. However, the spread of diseases and extreme violence exerted by the military during road construction in the 1970s led to a drastic decline and the near distinction of the indigenous population, from an estimated 3,000 in the 1970s to 332 people in 1986. Moreover, the isolated Pirititi indigenous group has widely disappeared since then. In 1979 mining groups linked to the Paranapanema group started to invade nearby indigenous lands in which large cassiterite deposits were found. The military government controversially dissolved the demarcation of the indigenous land to regularize mining operations that continue until today (see also related case entry in the EJAtlas) and expropriated an area of 10,300 km2 for public utility, superimposing it to the territory of the Waimiri Atroari group. This permitted the eventual flooding of approximately 2,928 km2 through the Balbina project, including at least eight indigenous villages, leading to the displacement of about one-third of the surviving indigenous population and about 3,000 riverine families downstream of the dam         .