Photo: Dam Work Continues at Brazilian Amazon Site After Ruling Court Reverse
Work on what will be the world’s third-largest dam resumed on Tuesday after Brazil’s Supreme Court reversed a ruling by another tribunal that put a temporary halt to the controversial project.
Employees “directly implicated” in the current phase of construction returned to their posts “on all fronts,” the consortium building the dam, Norte Energia, said in a statement.
The Belo Monte project was suspended after an Aug. 14 ruling by a federal district court that cited irregularities in the approval process.
Construction of the dam began in March 2011 despite staunch opposition from environmentalists concerned about its impact on the Amazon and from local Indians, farmers and fishermen worried about its effect on their livelihoods.
The hydroelectric complex, which is to require total investment of $10.6 billion and is not scheduled to begin operating before 2014, will flood a 503-sq.-kilometer (195-sq.-mile) area and directly and indirectly affect 66 communities.
President Dilma Rousseff’s government, however, says the project will not have a direct impact on any indigenous lands.
Due to oscillations in the flow of the Xingu River, guaranteed minimum capacity generation from the Belo Monte Dam will be 4,571 MW, or roughly 40 percent of its maximum capacity of 11,233 MW, according to government estimates.
The office of Brazil’s solicitor general applauded the Supreme Court decision to allow work on the dam to resume, asserting that delaying the Belo Monte project would cause “irreparable” harm to the “public patrimony, administrative order, economic order and Brazilian energy policy.”