The Patagonian Foundation
PO Box 29113 San Francisco, CA 94129 USA

April 23, 2018

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Current Challenges
Industrial Development

Hydroelectric Plants

Many rivers in Patagonia have been dammed to develop hydroelectricity. Some of these dams are important energy sources for the local community and were developed with the natural environment in mind. On the other hand, others were constructed without any regard for the environment. Currently, the residents of Chileís Aisen region are in a desperate battle to save the Baker (left) and Pascua Rivers, two of the most beautiful in the world. Endesa, a Spanish electric company, is threatening to construct two dams on the Baker and two on the Pascua. These dams significantly threaten the local environment and raise serious social concerns. First, these rivers are surrounded by thousands of acres of nature reserves and fragile ecosystems and species that would be completely flooded and/or permanently altered by the dams. Second, Endesa plans to send all of the energy generated by the dams more than 2,000 km north to Santiago, which requires the installation of extensive high voltage transmission lines. These lines will permanently alter the landscape and significantly diminish property values for many local people, who will receive little to no compensation. Third, Endesa hopes to pass these lines through at least one privately owned nature reserve and perhaps other important ecosystems. Finally, the temporary workforce that will infiltrate the largely rural area raises serious social concerns regarding housing, prostitution and crime.

TPF has joined the fight against the damming of the Baker and Pascua rivers. In conjunction with a number of individuals and other environmental groups, TPF helping to fund the dissemination of information regarding the environmental impacts of the proposed plants. TPF hopes to raise awareness on the impacts the dams will have on the local community, and raise money to support the legal battle against Endesa.


Noranda, a Toronto-based mining and metals company, has proposed to build an enormous aluminum smelter plant in the Aisen region of Chile, 4 kilometers from Puerto Chacabuco. This project, known as Alumysa, would involve the importation of aluminum ore from Australia, Brazil, and Jamaica for processing in southern Chile before export to Asia. The project would include the construction of three hydroelectric power plants, a bridge, a port, 85 kilometers of electric transmission lines, 95 kilometers of new roads, and would produce 600,000 to 800,000 tons of solid and toxic industrial waste each year, threatening Aisenís water quality, fragile ecosystems, and the health of its inhabitants.

Tourist Infrastructure | Overgrazing | Threatened Habitats and Endangered Species | Salmon Farming | Deforestation | Pet Overpopulation | Waste Management | Industrial Development