Brazil: £10bn Amazonian dam approved

Brazil's environment agency gave definitive approval yesterday for construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, a controversial $17bn (£10.3bn) project in the Amazon that has been criticised by native Indians and conservationists.

The regulator, Ibama, issued licences to the consortium in charge of Belo Monte to build the dam on the Xingu River, an Amazon tributary. The government saysthe 11,200-megawatt project, due to start producing electricity in 2015, is crucial to provide power to Brazil's economy.

It will be the world's third-biggest hydroelectric dam, after China's Three Gorges and Itaipu on the border of Brazil and Paraguay. In January, Ibama issued a preliminary licence allowing the construction site to be set up. Since then the project has been halted and resumed several times due to court injunctions obtained by environmentalists and native Indians opposing the dam.

Conceived 30 years ago, progress on Belo Monte has been slowed over the years by protests, including a 2009 incident when Kayapo Indians attacked a state electricity official.

Critics of the dam include singer Sting, Hollywood director James Cameron and environmental group Greenpeace. The 3.75-mile dam will displace 30,000 river dwellers, partially dry up a 62-mile stretch of the Xingu river, and flood large areas of forest and grass land.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in