Latin America & Caribbean

Work to resume on Brazil's Belo Monte dam

Activists during a June protest against the Belo Monte dam
Campaigners opposed to the project formed the words "Stop Belo Monte" during a protest in June

Work will resume on a multi-billion dollar dam project in the Amazon after Brazil's Supreme Court overturned a previous decision to halt construction.

Two weeks ago, a regional federal court had ordered the immediate suspension of work on the Belo Monte dam saying that local indigenous people had not been properly consulted.

The decision could be revised again as the court examines further evidence.

Once completed, it would be the world's third largest hydro-electric dam.

The project, which has been heavily criticised by environmentalists, was approved by the Brazilian Congress in 2005.

The preliminary ruling, passed on Monday by the Supreme Court, overturns a federal court ruling earlier this month which argued that local communities should have had the right to voice their opinion on the environmental impact of the project before it was passed by Congress.

The government says the dam would make Brazil more energy self-sufficient, especially in the Amazon region, which relies on fossil fuels for much of its needs.

Opponents argue that it will flood a vast area of tropical forest, displacing thousands of indigenous people and damaging the environment.

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