Brazil government gives go-ahead for huge Amazon dam

Indigenous people campaign against the construction of the Belo Monte dam in Brasilia (26 August 2010)

Brazil’s government has given the formal go-ahead for the building on a tributary of the Amazon of the world’s third biggest hydroelectric dam. After several failed legal challenges, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva signed the contract for the Belo Monte dam with the Norte Energia consortium.

Critics say the project will damage the local ecosystem and make homeless 50,000 mainly indigenous people. But the government says it is crucial for development and will create jobs.

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