Work has been suspended on the Belo Monte dam in the heart of the Amazon. Engineers from the Norte Energia consortium downed tools this week after a court ruled that they were not fulfilling their obligation to the local indigenous people.
The $11 billion project to construct the Bello Monte dam, the third largest in the world, has been in conception since 1975, but work began only last year after multiple federal rulings against the dam throughout the 2000’s.
Environmentalists and rights activists say that the dam would devastate wildlife and livelihoods of 40,000 people who live in the area that would be flooded by the project.
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Native communities within Brazil, and particularly near the Xingu river where the dam will be placed, were not given a fair chance to air their concerns about the project, the court told.
Norte Energia will be allowed to appeal that decision, however until that point they will be charged $250,000 a day if work continues.
Antonia Melo, co-ordinator of the Xingu Vivo indigenous movement said: “It’s a historic decision for the country and for the native communities.
“It’s a great victory which shows that Belo Monte is not a done deal. We are very happy and satisfied.”
With 22,000 workers scheduled to be working 24 hours a day on the project by next year, Norte Energia will be hoping that a decision can be reached as soon as possible. However they will have to co-operate with the local population if they are to reach a successful conclusion.