Puno residents protest Inambari hydroelectric project

Conditions in Peru’s southern Puno department are reportedly returning to normal as a 48-hour protest against a multi-billion dollar hydroelectric project winds down on Friday, according to state-run news agency Andina.

More than 600 people from the district of San Gabán arrived in the city of Puno on Thursday to protest the construction of the Inambari dam. The protestors blocked highways, while business owners and schools shut down as a precaution against outbreaks of violence, the Coordinadora Nacional del Radio reported.

The location of the Inambari dam is planned along the border region of the Puno, Cusco, and Madre de Dios departments. It is Peru’s largest hydroelectric project and the fifth largest in Latin America. The concession holder, Brazilian consortium Egasur, is expected to invest $4 billion in the project, which will have an installed capacity of 2,000 megawatts of electricity.

However, the project is also expected to have serious environmental and social impacts. The dam will flood around 150 square miles of land, including parts of the Transoceanic highway, and threaten the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park. It is also expected to displace more than 3,200 people from San Gabán.

Energy and Mines Minister Pedro Sánchez told daily La República that the government wants to relocate that population to urban centers in the region.

Most of the energy the dam will produce is expected to be exported to Brazil.

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