May 27, 2019 / 10:49 PM / 5 months ago

Northern Brazil power line to avoid impact on tribe: document

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The builders of a new power transmission line to the northern Brazilian state of Roraima have pledged to deploy 200 inspectors to reduce the environmental impact on an indigenous reservation where they will erect 250 pylons, according to an environmental assessment document seen by Reuters.

It said they also had committed to keeping secret any geological information on the discovery of mineral resources to avoid drawing illegal mining interests that have long set their sights on the land of the Waimiri Atroari tribe.

State-run utility Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras SA and private energy sector holding company Alupar Investimentos SA will build the 720-km (450-mile) line from Manaus to Roraima’s capital Boa Vista, connecting the state to the national grid.

The companies won the contract in 2011 but the project, which became a priority after Venezuela suspended electricity supplies to Roraima last year, was delayed by environmental licensing and concerns over laying the line over 122 km (76 miles) of tribal lands.

The “indigenous component of the impact assessment was handed to the National Indigenous Affairs agency Funai last week and Brazil’s government now expects licensing to be completed by July and construction to begin in the second half of this year,” the document said.

To avoid impact on the indigenous populations the power lines will be laid at a height of up to 109 meters (119 yards) above the reservation land, according to the 400-page document.

The companies involved in the project agreed to provide internet connection for 24 Waimiri Atroari villages that do not have access at the moment.

Reporting by Luciano Costa; Editing by Howard Goller

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