Banks financing controversial dam
Campaign group Banktrack has reported that eight civil actions have been filed against the The Rio Madeira dam in Brazil.
Reasons for litigation included failure during the issuing of the licences to consider all of the impacts of the projects and public hearings not complying with the law. The projects were particularly criticised for violations of indigenous peoples' rights, with an Environmental Impact Assessment estimating that 3,000 people would be displaced.
BankTrack themselves anticipated that fish stocks would suffer serious decline and those living downstream would experience declining crop yields, loss of transportation and risk of mercury contamination.
Campaigners also noted the likely negative public health impacts in a region where malaria and tropical diseases were prevalent. Indigenous people were also anticipated to also be affected by the thousands of incoming migrant labourers, and signs indicate the presence of isolated indigenous groups in the areas due to be flooded.
In addition COIAB, an association that gathers indigenous peoples from the Amazon, claims that indigenous people have not been granted free, prior and informed consent to the project. They argue that the banks financing the project are in violation of the Equator Principles (which is “primarily intended to provide a minimum standard for due diligence to support responsible risk decision-making” for financial institutions.)
The Maderia River dam was expected to have a negative impact on the area's biodiversity, to result in the deforestation of forests, affect the migration routes of several species of large catfish and emit large volumes of greenhouse gasses.
The consortium responsible for the construction have already been fined three times for environmental damage, including illegal deforestation of the work site and an 11-ton fish kill. The fines were said to have been in excess of R$9 million.
In addition workers' rights violations were reported and workers at Jirau were said to have decided to strike for better pay and working conditions.
An outline of the banks involved is below:
- Banco Bradesco was reported to have provided a corporate loan for the project and to be an Equator Principles signatory.
- Banco do Brasil was said to have co-ordinated the pool of banks that financed the Jirau dam, to have provided a corporate loan and to be an Equator Principles signatory.
- Banco Espirito Santo was said to have provided a corporate loan for the Santo Antonio dam.
- Banif was said to hold a 10.02% stake in the Special Purpose Vehicle MESA (Santo Antonio).
- Caixa Economica Federal was said to have provided a corporate loan for the Jirau dam.
- Santander was said to have advised on the financing structure of the Santo Antonio dam, to have co-ordinated the pool of banks which financed the Santo Antonio dam, to provided a corporate loan for the Santo Antonio dam, to hold a 5% equity stake in the special purpose vehicle MESA (Santo Antonio) and to be an Equator Principles signatory.
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