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alumysa threatens "reserve of life" - communities unite against aluminium plant

noranda, canada

“The construction and operation of the dams and the plant will have serious impacts on our rivers. We will have fewer fish, and our native aquatic species will be threatened. Small-scale fishing is one of the region's most important economic activities, and our fisherpeople will also be negatively impacted by increased ship traffic in the Aysén fjord." Alianza Aysén Reserva de Vida”


One of the biggest upcoming battles for Friends of the Earth Chile and other groups around the world will be the planned Alumysa megaproject, which will site an aluminium plant, three hydroelectric dams and a new port in one of the most pristine areas remaining on the face of the earth.


The corporate power behind this appalling scheme is Noranda, Canada’s principal mining company as well as a key player in the logging and energy sectors. Noranda is a notorious environmental offender, with at least 87 documented violations in North America alone and fines exceeding US$1.9 million in the United States.


The $2.75 billion aluminium production plant, 2 kilometres in length, will require a new port for the import of raw alumina and other materials. The three planned hydroelectric dams that will supply the requisite 758 megawatts of energy for the plant will flood an area of 9,600 hectares. The project also includes 95 kilometres of new roads, 79 kilometres of power lines, a wharf and the expansion of two nearby towns.


The costs to the local biodiversity in Aysén, a unique area in Central Patagonia that was settled only 80 years ago, are incalculable. The massive amounts of waste generated by the project (over 1 million tons per year) will pollute pure rivers, streams and lakes and impact local flora and fauna. The sparse local population has encouraged the development of sustainable activities including eco-tourism, smallscale fishing, and organic agriculture and cattle breeding.

The approximately 100,000 inhabitants of Aysén do not stand to benefit economically from the project: only 10 percent of the 1,100 jobs that the plant will create during its operation stage will be local. The looming threat of Alumysa has prompted local people to unite in order to protect their region, which they call a “reserve of life”.

news: chilean mega-aluminium plant defeated
In August 2003, the planned Alumysa mega-project, in which the Canadian Noranda company would have sited an aluminium plant, three hydroelectric dams and a new port in one of the most pristine areas on earth, was cancelled.
The victory was termed a "triumph of citizen’s organizations" by activists from CODEFF/Friends of the Earth Chile, who were actively involved in opposing the plan.


Read the press release about the succes (in spanish)


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