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Neltume hydroelectric project in Panguipulli, Chile


The provision of electricity in Chile is heavily dependent on foreign countries, particularly Argentina. Recently, important restrictions on natural gas exports from its neighbour together with an increase of domestic consumption has led the Chilean government to promote unconventional renewable energy (energía renovable no convencional - ERNC).

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Neltume hydroelectric project in Panguipulli, Chile
State or province:Los Rios region, Valdivia
Location of conflict:Panguipulli
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Plant potential: 490 MW

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Level of Investment for the conflictive project781,000,000
Type of populationRural
Company names or state enterprises:Endesa Chile from Chile
Sn Power from Norway
ENEL Group (Enel) from Italy
Relevant government actors:COREMA
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Comunidades Mapuche, Koz-koz Parliament, Re:Common, Fondazione Banca Etica, Rete STOP-ENEL, Corporación de Desarrollo Indígena (Conadi), Frente Ambientalista de Panguipulli (FAP)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Shareholder/financial activism.
Street protest/marches
Italian NOGs and a foundation have participated for some years in the General Assembly of shareholders of ENEL, in order to denounce the impacts and push for a change in the company's energy strategy.
Local communities have also had "mesas de dialogo" with the company.
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, 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, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Other Environmental impactsAll impacts are potential because the plant is not built yet. If constructed, all such impacts will surely occur.
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Other Health impactsAll impacts are potential because the plant is not built yet. If constructed, all such impacts will surely occur.
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Other socio-economic impactsAll impacts are potential because the plant is not built yet. If constructed, all such impacts will surely occur.
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Proposal and development of alternatives:The local communities question the alleged need of energy of the country. They denounce the "terror politics" implied by the company in term of energy emergency and the need to generate more.
They call for a "Consulta previa, libre, informada y de buena fé".
They also want to have the area suited for tourism activities and bring revenues for the local people.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The population has mobilized and strengthened cooperation with national and international NGOs. Still, the project is still under negotiation and the government and company have not changed any plan.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

ILO Convention 169
[click to view]

Reglamento SEIA y nuevas negociaciones a respecto
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

LOS PAISAJES DEL AGUA: NATURALEZA E IDENTIDAD EN LA CUENCA DEL RÍO VALDIVIA - Revista de Antropología Chilena Volumen 44, Nº 2, 2012. Páginas 299-312
[click to view]

Defending Territory, Demanding Participation Mapuche Struggles in Chile, Diane Haughney
[click to view]

[1] Mapas de conflictos en Chile
[click to view]

[2] Opositores a Neltume se manifiestan en junta de Endesa Enel en Italia
[click to view]

Mapuches de Panguipulli exigen otro Estudio Ambiental a ENDESA para garantizar Consulta Indígena
[click to view]

Trafún, comuna de Panguipulli: Menor herido por perdigón de carabineros (in Spanish)
[click to view]

On repression against Mapuche communities (in Spanish)
[click to view]

Demanda colectiva del Pueblo Mapuche al Estado chileno: Reparación de territorios y Aguas
[click to view]

Marcha por el Agua, 2014 in Santiago del Chile
[click to view]

[click to view]

Chile: Hydroelectric projects threaten sacred Mapuche sites
[click to view]

Rete Stop ENEL, in Italian
[click to view]

Los Ríos: dirigentes mapuche aseguran que Endesa busca lavarse las manos con llamado a diálogo
[click to view]

Mapa de Conflictos hidroelectricos en Chile
[click to view]

Links to various articles and materials at the bottom: "Por conflicto Endesa: Emplazan al Estado Español a respetar Derechos Indígenas en América Latina"
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Alcalde de Panguipulli, Alejandro Koehler presentó recurso de protección
[click to view]

Diálogo de Saberes, entrevistas 2
[click to view]

Diálogo de Saberes, entrevistas 1
[click to view]

Diálogo de Saberes, entrevistas 3
[click to view]

Message form Jorge Weke to Italian activists during the joint actions against ENEL's projects in the region Los Rios
[click to view]

Central Neltume ¿un nuevo Ralco?
[click to view]

Cancion rap en favor de la campanya contra la represa "Patagonia sin represas, Panguipulli"
[click to view]

Other comments:The plant in Panguipulli requires the construction of a transmission line (Línea de alta tensión Neltume-Pullinque), which has also generated conflicts. The INDH map reports about that [1].
Meta information
Contributor:Daniela Del Bene, ICTA-UAB
Last update20/05/2014
Conflict ID:1285
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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