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Belo Monte dam construction halted by Brazilian court

Huge new hydroelectric project suspended until local indigenous community is properly consulted about possible fallout

Source:  Copyright 2012, Guardian
Date:  August 16, 2012
Byline:  Jonathan Watts
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Opponents of the world's biggest new hydroelectric project - the Belo Monte dam in Brazil - notched up a rare victory this week, when a federal appeals court ordered construction to be suspended until indigenous groups are properly consulted about the project.

The judgment on Tuesday may prove only a temporary reprieve but it is seen as a scathing verdict on the government's efforts to rush forward with the Xingu River project in the Amazon, which - despite controversy - is one of the pillars of Brazil's efforts to reduce dependency on fossil fuels. It is also a setback for developers, led by Electrobras, which now face expensive delays or daily fines of up to R$500,000 (£166,00) if they do not comply with the court order.

About 12,000 construction workers are due to work on the dam this year, which is eventually expected to produce 11,000 megawatts of electricity - the third biggest hydro-electric generating capacity in the world after China's Three ...

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