AFTER MORE THAN SIX YEARS of litigation, 84 Pehuenches indian families have accepted land elsewhere in compensation for the land that will be submerged by the reservoir impounded by the 570MW Ralco dam on the Bio Bio river in Chile.

Seven families are however still refusing to move. In November 2002, Hombres Buenos (human rights) commission appointed by the Economy Ministry visited those properties to determine how much Chilen utility Endesa – developer of the dam – must pay the families to move. If no agreement is reached, the utility has won the legal right to evict the remaining families by the end of the year.

The 155m high Ralco dam presently under construction is the second of six dams planned for the river, and is expected to be completed late next year. Endesa says the US$600M project could supply up to 18% of the energy for central Chile, including the capital Santiago.

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