Open Letter - Another view on Belo Monte

Publication Date: 04/23/2021 06:00

Open Letter - Another view on Belo Monte

This message invites the viewer to consider the following:

Imagine what life would be like today in the communities surrounding the Belo Monte HPP, without the venture.

Let us pull some data from 2010, when work started on the Plant:

  • around 27,000 people lived in stilt houses in Altamira, subject to recurrent flooding where the same water played multiple roles.
  • open sewage.
  • outbreaks of diseases like malaria affected thousands of people. 
  • insufficiencies in the areas of health and education.
  • around 25% of families were below the poverty line (IBGE, 2010).
  • low prospects for the future among the younger population.

What would that scenario look like today, 10 years later? How would things be without the venture?

The presence of Belo Monte was decisive in rescuing and transforming quality of life for the population of the neighboring municipalities – that is a fact. The "before" and "after" data and images are witnesses to this new reality.

Major transformations were promoted by Norte Energia's commitments in the region in 10 years:

  • families formerly living in stilt houses were indemnified or transferred to five planned neighborhoods, built by Norte Energia in Altamira with potable water supply, sewage collection, public lighting, paved streets, schools, sports' courts, and healthcare clinics.
  • the houses delivered to the residents measure 63 square meters, distributed in a living room, kitchen, three bedrooms and two bathrooms; some are adapted for people with disabilities.
  • the residents participate in activities to foster community strengthening, income generation and environmental education, in addition to social responsibility projects with vocational courses. 
  • Altamira benefitted from the deployment of a waste collection and treatment system, which was non-existent to that point; the expansion of the water supply system, which served less than 10% of the population; and the construction of another 500 kilometers of lines. Today, the sanitation structure implemented by Norte Energia has a capacity to serve more than 90% of the inhabitants of Altamira – few cities in Brazil have this magnitude of service and even less have advanced so much in so little time.
  • Health and education infrastructure: the region received 304 new classrooms, 31 Basic Health Units and 3 Hospitals, in addition to a program to fight and control malaria, which has already reduced the number of cases of the endemic disease by over 90%.
  • The Indigenous Community, in addition to electricity and staple food baskets, has a permanent healthcare system thanks to the Agreement with the Special Indigenous Health District of the Ministry of Health, in which Norte Energia provided approximately 120 healthcare professionals.
  • A telemedicine system is in the early stages of deployment in the indigenous communities.
  • We are initiating the replacement of power generation in the indigenous communities, which is diesel-based today, by solar generation, with panels installed on the riverbed.
  • Norte Energia currently generates employment in the region with around 30% of its workforce represented by labor from local residents.

The deployment of Belo Monte also established a new dynamic in the economy. In municipal taxes alone, it accounted for collection of around R$ 1 billion in the region. 

Completed in late 2019, the Plant generated approximately R$ 170 million in royalties in its first year of full operation. This total will be about R$ 200 million in 2021, part of which is destined for the state and part to be distributed to the surrounding municipalities. The allocation of royalties is a factual occurrence and will be reverted, during the project's concession period of (35 years), as additional revenue to the municipalities – exceeding, in most cases, the municipal budget itself.

When the topic shifts to the venture's impacts on biodiversity, it is important to clarify that they were foreseen, assessed, and weighed in the Environmental Impact Study produced by the Brazilian State, in 2009, and authorized under the Plant's environmental licensing.

Such impacts are mitigated, compensated, and monitored by a robust package of over 100 social and environmental projects led by Norte Energia, with funds surpassing R$ 6 billion, approximately 15% of the venture's total investment.

Aware that there is still much to be done, Norte Energia is fully engaged in the initiatives and actions that represent not only sustainable development in the region, but above all else, an instrument to leverage better living conditions for the local indigenous and non-indigenous populations. 

The presence of Belo Monte and the fulfillment of its commitments and initiatives stimulated a new configuration in the Region, notably in benefits to health, the environment, urban requalification, and social and economic development of its residents.

Norte Energia emphasizes that as a company committed to sustainable development, it has been acting based on transparency and responsibility towards people, the environment, and the region where Belo Monte is located.

 

Norte Energia S.A

Concessionaire of Belo Monte HPP