Puno residents plan protests over Inambari

Residents in Puno’s north-east Carabaya province plan to launch an indefinite strike on June 8 to reject the development of the multi-billion dollar Inambari hydroelectric project, CNR news service reported.

The Inambari dam is planned along the border region of Puno, Cuzco and Madre de Dios departments. It has faced stiff opposition from local communities concerned about its environmental and social impacts.

“We have waited for an answer from the central government, but until now we haven’t received anything and that indicates that there isn’t interest to reach a solution,” said protest organizer Heran Vilca.

Brazilian consortium Egasur is the owner of the project. The dam is Peru’s largest hydroelectric project and fifth largest in Latin America. Egasur is expected to invest $4 billion in the project, which is slated to have an installed capacity of 2,000 megawatts of electricity.

The dam is also expected to flood around 150 square miles of land and threaten the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park. It is also expected to displace more than 3,200 people from the town of San Gabán.

If residents decide to go ahead with the protests, it will add to ongoing social conflicts in Puno over the extractive industries.

Over the last few weeks, the department has been shutdown due to protests against mining activities.

Aymara peoples from the southern Puno region began protests on May 9 calling for the cancellation of mining concessions in the region and the withdrawal of junior Canadian company Bear Creek Mining, which has the Santa Ana silver project in Puno.

The protests were temporarily suspended this week to allow for voting in the presidential election on Sunday. However, residents have said they will resume the demonstrations after the election if their demands are not met.

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