Multibillion Brazilian dam held up as tribes occupy site

The $11.2bn Belo Monte dam in Brazil is being held up as more than 150 indigenous tribes people are occupying one of the sites across the Xingu River in the Brazilian Amazon.

The latest obstacle means a further delay in the construction of the third largest hydroelectric power plant ever built, reports

Indigenous missionary Council Cimi spokesman, Cleanton Ribeiro, said "They are demanding demarcation of their lands, the expulsion of invader, an improved health system and running water. They no longer believe in the promises made (by the consortium) and say they will leave only when concrete steps begin."

The Belo Monte hydroelectric power plant is being built on the Xingu River in the Pará state of Brazil and is expected to flood an area of 500km2 along the Xingu River.

The Brazilian Government said that 16,000 indigenous people will have to move from the project site, although some NGO's claim that as many as 40,000 people will be displaced.

Work on the Belo Monte plant began in March 2011, despite fierce protests from local people, including members of the Xicrin, Juruna, Aarara, Aawete, Assurini and Parakanawa tribes. Green activists have also warned of deforestation, greenhouse-gas emissions and permanent damage to the ecosystem.

Upon completion in 2019, it will be the third largest hydroelectric plant in the world with a capacity of 11,230MW, serving about 35m people. By the time the dam will become operational, the Government plans to have invested a total of $1.2bn to help the indigenous tribes in the area.

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