Tags: Brazil | dam | Amazon | jungle

Brazil Takes Steps for Amazon Dam Build

Tuesday, 02 February 2010 10:21 AM

Brazil's government has granted an environmental licence for the construction of a controversial hydro-electric dam in the Amazon rainforest.

Environmental groups say the Belo Monte dam will cause devastation in a large area of the rainforest and threaten the survival of indigenous groups.

However, the government says whoever is awarded the project will have to pay $800m to protect the environment.

The initial approval was a key step before investors could submit bids.

The proposal to build a hydro-electric dam on the Xingu river, a tributary of the Amazon in the northern state of Para, has long been a source of controversy.

The initial project was abandoned in the 1990s amid widespread protests both in Brazil and around the world.

Members of the Kayapo tribe
Indigenous tribes say the Belo Monte dam poses a threat to their way of life

The government says the scheme has been modified to take account of fears that it would threaten the way of life of the indigenous peoples who live in the area.

Brazilian Environment Minister Carlos Minc revealed that those who win the bidding process to build and operate Belo Monte will have to pay millions of dollars to protect the environment and meet 40 other conditions.

However, critics say diverting the flow of the Xingu river will still lead to devastation in a large area of the rainforest and damage fish stocks.

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Tuesday, 02 February 2010 10:21 AM
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