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Dardanelos Dam in Amazonia, Brazil


Description:

The Dardanelos Hydropower Plant is one of a series of hydro projects on the Aripuanã that includes the Juína, Faxinal I, and Faxinal II dams. The project commenced in 2007 in the midst of lengthy legal and political battles that had started two years before. Before construction began, government authorities ensured that the dam would only indirectly affect indigenous territories in the region as it would be located outside indigenous land. However, because of irregularities and omissions in the environmental impact assessment (EIA), the state’s public prosecutor initiated legal action against a number of companies involved in the dam’s construction in 2005, demanding the cancellation of the EIA and suspending the project tender [8]. Accusations included the omission of an impact assessment for the territory outside the municipality where the dam would be built and for the transmission lines. Despite claims that indigenous communities would not be affected, the construction process in fact directly threatened indigenous sacred and ancestral sites. In 2010 the Aguas da Pedra construction company blew up an indigenous cemetery. In response, on 25 July, 2010, an indigenous group of around 300 Brazilian Indians[1] (some other media reports say 400[2], from eleven tribes, including about 50 Enawene Nawe Indians), equipped with homemade weapons like knives, bows and arrows, took over the Dardanelos hydroelectric dam, which they state has polluted vital fishing grounds apart from destroying sacred burial ground. They were demanding reparations for the damage done and that no more dams are built in the region without their prior consent. Despite wearing war paint and bows and arrows, the occupation was said to be non-violent and no injuries have been reported.

Initially, the indigenous protesters held some 100 workers who were constructing the dam earlier [3] (some others say150 workers [4]) at the dam, a day after taking the workers hostage, 26 were released in exchange for 5 project engineers and managers. Days later all hostages were released, with a meeting scheduled for representatives of the Dardanelos dam and the state’s National Foundation for Indigenous Affairs [5], [6]. The Indians were not consulted about the projects before they started, and their livelihoods were now threatened. They are demanding compensation for damage the company did by “dynamiting” an archaeological site considered sacred by the peoples of the region. Antonio Carlos Ferreira Aquino, local coordinator of the National Foundation for Indigenous Affairs (FUNAI) explained that the money demanded was not for the indigenous peoples’ pockets. “What they want is a sustainable program in the area that will recover the loss they have suffered in this archaeological site.”

Besides losing the burial ground, the Arara, the Cinta Larga and other tribes have been hit hard by the pollution of the Aripuanã river due to construction [7]. According to Survivors International, they have caught almost no fish in the past two years and had to rely on farmed fish brought by the government. For the Enawene Nawe tribe, for whom fish is a vital part of their diet, this is preventing them from performing yãkwa, an important ritual in which they build intricate dams across the smaller rivers and trap fish in large baskets.

The tragedy highlights the fragile state of relations between the region’s indigenous people and dam companies. In Mato Grosso alone there are 33 tribes, with an estimated 250,000 people. There are 77 hydroelectric dams planned for upstream of the area, with 5 already in construction. The occupation was over soon and the Arara and others went home later. But with so many dams proposed and under construction in the Amazon, the next confrontation is only a matter of time.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Dardanelos Dam in Amazonia, Brazil
Country:Brazil
State or province:State of Mato Grosso
Location of conflict:Aripuanã-Mato Grosso, MT
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict: 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Electricity
Water

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

Capacity: 256 MW

Flooded Area: 2 Km2

Cost: R$ 760.0 million

Operational Status: Under Construction

Companies Involved: Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras S/A (Eletrobrás) / Centrais Elétricas do Norte do Brasil S/A (Eletronorte) / Companhia Hidro Elétrica do São Francisco (Chesf) / Energética Águas da Pedra S/A / Neoenergia Investimentos S/A (Neoinvest) / Odebrecht (Grupo Norberto Odebrecht)

Funders Involved: Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES)

Investment Plans: Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento, Brasil

//More info about the Companies:

The company responsible for the plant - Energética Águas da Pedra S/A - is made up of Neoenergia (51%), Eletronorte (24.5%) and Chesf (24.5%).

Neoenergia Investmentos S/A (Neoinvest) is a company controlled by pension funds linked to the Brazilian state-owned Banco do Brasil (Bank of Brazil) and the Welfare Fund for the Banco do Brasil Staff (Previ), and also by the Spanish group Iberdrola.

Eletronorte and Chesf are subsidiaries of the federal public company Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras S/A (Eletrobrás).

BNDES disbursed R$ 485,090,000.00 to Energética Águas da Pedra S/A.

Project area:200
Level of Investment:241,430,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:250,000
Start of the conflict:25/07/2010
Company names or state enterprises:Energética Águas da Pedra S/A from Brazil
Centrais Elétricas do Norte do Brasil S/A (Eletronorte) from Brazil
Neoenergia Investimentos S/A (Neoinvest) (Neoinvest) from Brazil
Odebrecht Ambiental from Brazil
Companhia Hidro Elétrica do São Francisco (Chesf) (Chesf) from Brazil
Relevant government actors:-FUNAI - National Indian Foundation (Brazil)
-Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional, IPHAN
International and Finance InstitutionsBanco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES) from Brazil
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:-Survival International

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Cinta-Larga and Arara indigenous groups
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Threats to use arms
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Hostage-taking

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Potential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Other Environmental impacts, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Increase in violence and crime

Outcome

Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Development of alternatives:Alternatives in the territories include the promotion of the area for ecotourism, in particular for visiting the Salto de Dardanelos, natural waterfalls very close to the hydro plant.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The dam was built and is in operation now anyway, the indigenous groups were compensated by a series of social projects, but they still lost a sacred ancient burial ground and archeological site.

Sources and Materials

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

Lees, Alexander C., et al. "Hydropower and the future of Amazonian biodiversity." Biodiversity and conservation 25.3 (2016): 451-466.
http://riosvivos.org.br/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Lees_et_al_Hydropower_and_Amazon_Biodiversity-Biodiv__Conserv.pdf

[8] Riethof, Marieke. "The international human rights discourse as a strategic focus in socio-environmental conflicts: the case of hydro-electric dams in Brazil." The International Journal of Human Rights 21.4 (2017): 482-499.
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Marieke_Riethof/publication/309803391_The_international_human_rights_discourse_as_a_strategic_focus_in_socio-environmental_conflicts_the_case_of_hydro-electric_dams_in_Brazil/links/58240e9708aeebc4f8989e4f.pdf

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Dardanelos Dam
http://dams-info.org/en/dams/view/dardanelos/

[3] Indians hold construction workers hostage at Amazon dam site
http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/6282

[4] Brazilian Indians protesting construction of Amazon dam release hostages
http://en.mercopress.com/2010/07/27/brazilian-indians-protesting-construction-of-amazon-dam-release-hostages

[5] Indigenous Tribes Resist Dam Construction By Taking Workers Hostage
http://www.care2.com/causes/indigenous-tribes-resist-dam-construction-by-taking-workers-hostage.html

[1] Indigenous tribes occupy dam in Brazil, demand reparations
https://news.mongabay.com/2010/07/indigenous-tribes-occupy-dam-in-brazil-demand-reparations/

[2] Brazilian Indians take hostages at Amazon dam site
http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-dam-indians-idUKTRE66O20L20100725

Observatorio Socio-ambiental de Barragens
http://www.observabarragem.ippur.ufrj.br/barragens/29/dardanelos

[7] O Estadao. Índios impedem hidrelétrica de funcionar. Barragem está pronta, mas tribos vizinhas promovem invasões e cobram compensação. Edna Simão, de O Estado de S. Paulo,15 Julho 2011.















Edna Simão, de O Estado de S. Paulo,



15 Julho 2011
http://economia.estadao.com.br/noticias/negocios,indios-impedem-hidreletrica-de-funcionar,76216e

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[6] Indios brasileros Cinta-Larga toman rehenes para evitar grandes represas. 26 Julio 2010. Escrito por El polvorín.



Indios intercambian a obreros por cinco ingenieros
http://elpolvorin.over-blog.es/article-indios-brasileros-cinta-larga-toman-rehenes-para-evitar-grandes-represas-54509790.html

Other documents

Dardanelos Dam in construction
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/QQ图片20170724183008.png

Indigenous people in resistance
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/mangabay.jpg

Technique details of Dardanelos Dam
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/QQ图片20170724183056.png

Meta information

Contributor:EnvJustice, ICTA
Last update31/07/2017

Images

 

Dardanelos Dam in construction

 

Technique details of Dardanelos Dam

 

Technique details of Dardanelos Dam

 

Indigenous people in resistance

 

Dardanelos Dam in construction

 

Dardanelos Dam in construction

 

Technique details of Dardanelos Dam

 

Dardanelos Dam in construction

 

Dardanelos Dam in construction

 

Technique details of Dardanelos Dam

 

Dardanelos Dam in construction

 

Dardanelos Dam in construction

 

Technique details of Dardanelos Dam

 

Dardanelos Dam in construction

 

Technique details of Dardanelos Dam

 

Technique details of Dardanelos Dam

 

Dardanelos Dam in construction

 

Technique details of Dardanelos Dam

 

Dardanelos Dam in construction

 

Technique details of Dardanelos Dam

 

Technique details of Dardanelos Dam

 

Dardanelos Dam in construction

 

Technique details of Dardanelos Dam

 

Dardanelos Dam in construction

 

Technique details of Dardanelos Dam

 

Dardanelos Dam in construction

 

Dardanelos Dam in construction

 

Technique details of Dardanelos Dam

 

Dardanelos Dam in construction

 

Dardanelos Dam in construction

 

Technique details of Dardanelos Dam

 

Dardanelos Dam in construction

 

Technique details of Dardanelos Dam

 

Technique details of Dardanelos Dam

 

Technique details of Dardanelos Dam

 

Dardanelos Dam in construction

 

Technique details of Dardanelos Dam