Protests Mark Auction of Brazil’s Belo Monte Dam

Source: FSRN

On Tuesday, a consortium of 9 companies won the rights to build the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam on the Xingu River in the Amazon Basin.  The 10-minute auction on Tuesday came after more than two decades of planning, protests and injunctions.

If completed, the $11 billion, 11,000-megawatt dam would be the third largest in the world, after China’s Three Gorges and Itaipu, in Southern Brazil. The Brazilian government is pushing for Belo Monte to be operational in time for the World Cup in 2014.

Despite the energy potential, the massive dam will flood nearly 200 square miles of Amazonian rainforest.  Analysts say it could destroy local fishing habitat while displacing 40,000 people, including indigenous communities from 9 ethnic groups.

Indigenous activists say they are willing to quote, “go to war” to protect their land. An indigenous leader told AFP that boats carrying protesters would arrive today at the dam site, and that they intend to build a village on the grounds to protest the construction.

For more information, visit the Belo Monte Campaigns at International Rivers or Amazon Watch.