Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

  • In pictures: Debris and devastation at Air Algérie Flight AH5017 crash scene

    Read more

  • Kerry heads to Paris for new round of Gaza peace talks

    Read more

  • ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • Tour de France fans bring the ambience to the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

Americas

Government awards tender for controversial dam

Video by Rebecca BOWRING

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-04-21

Brazil on Tuesday awarded the contract to build construction of a giant Belo Monte hydroelectric dam. Indigenous groups and environmental activists had earlier decried the dam as a threat to the lives of the region's inhabitants.

AFP - Brazil on Tuesday speedily awarded the tender for a controversial hydro-electric dam projected to be the world's third-largest, despite fierce opposition from environmentalists.
  
The government pushed ahead with the bidding process to begin construction of the giant Belo Monte dam after beating back a last-minute suspension order with a rushed appeal.
  
The tender was awarded to Norte Energia, a consortium led by a subsidiary of the state electricity company Electrobras, after a series of court injunctions that had blocked and unblocked the auction process.
  
Indigenous groups and environmental activists had earlier staged demonstrations decrying the dam as ecologically irresponsible and a threat to the livelihood of 12,000 families, most of them Brazilian Indians living on the banks of the Xingu river that would feed the facility.
  
"We, the indigenous, demand justice and respect," read one placard brandished by protesters in front of the National Electric Energy Agency in Brasilia, where the tender process was held.
  
Around 500 activists with Greenpeace dumped three tons of manure in front of the building.
  
"There are other possible energy sources, such as wind power, biomass or solar," a Greenpeace spokesman said.
  
Opponents of the construction said they would not be defeated by the awarding of the tender.
  
"We will not be discouraged, we will continue to demonstrate," said Renata Pinheiro of the Xingu Vivo movement.
  
They said they planned to occupy some of the 500 square kilometers of Amazon rainforest land that Greenpeace estimates would be flooded by the dam.
  
The environmental group has said the construction would also divert some 100 kilometers of the Xingu River in an area that is home to between 20,000 to 30,000 families.
  
The dam has become spectacularly controversial, with even "Avatar" director James Cameron and star Sigourney Weaver wading in recently to give their backing to opponents and drawing parallels with the natives-versus-exploiters storyline of their blockbuster Hollywood movie.
  
The regional justice ministry in the state of Para tried to stall tenders for the 10-billion-dollar-plus Belo Monte project in a ruling, calling the dam "an affront to environmental laws."
  
It said too many questions remained over how the massive project would affect flora and fauna in the region, and what would become of the families who would have to be relocated.
  
The government, though, appears determined to push through with the dam, calling it essential to its plan to boost energy production in Brazil, Latin America's biggest economy, nearly three-fold over the next two decades.
  
For construction costs of 11.2 billion dollars, Belo Monte is expected to be able to produce 11,000 megawatts, which could supply 20 million homes with power.
  
The dam would be the third-biggest in the world, after China's Three Gorges facility, and Brazil's Itaipu dam in the south, and has been defended by some in the local population who hope to benefit from the estimated 18,000 direct jobs and 80,000 indirect jobs that the government says the project will create.
  
Hydro-electric energy accounts for 73 percent of the energy produced by Brazil.

Date created : 2010-04-21

COMMENT(S)