Sarawak tribe calls on German company to walk away from controversial dam

Jeremy Hance
June 19, 2012

Indigenous people from the Malaysian state of Sarawak have sent a letter to the German company, Fichtner GmbH & Co. KG, demanding that the consulting group halt all activities related to the hugely-controversial Baram dam, reports the NGO Bruno Manser Fund. Critics of the dam and it parent project known as the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) initiative, say the hydroelectric dam will displace 20,000 people and flood 40,000 hectares of primary rainforest.

Fichtner GmbH & Co. KG has been working as a consulting firm for Sarawak Energy, which is building the controversial dams, including Baram. Fichtner has been completing feasibility studies on the dam, however Bruno Manser Fund says local communities have not been allowed to see the studies. The slate of dam building has brought international attention to Sarawak's indigenous people and government, including a recent petition by Avaaz specifically focused on the Baram Dam.

If built, the Baram Dam is expected to produce 1,200 megawatts. However, Sarawak recently completed the 2,400 megawatt Bakun Dam, which produces double the energy consumed by the state of Sarawak at peak times. Another dam, the 900 megawatt Murum dam, is currently under construction. It was long thought the glut of power being produced by the dams would go to a massive $2 billion aluminum smelter by Anglo-Australian mining company Rio Tinto, but the mining giant recently cancelled the project.

The recently completed Bakun Dam forced the removal of 10,00 indigenous people and flooded 70,000 hectares of rainforest.


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