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Contract awarded for controversial Belo Monte dam in Brazil

A Kaiapo man stands with his son in the Brazilian Amazon. Photo by: Sue Wren.

Yesterday amid protests and global criticism, Brazil awarded the contract for the Belo Monte dam to Norte Energia consortium. The dam, long-criticized by environmentalists and indigenous groups in Brazil, has recently come under fire by James Cameron, director of Avatar, who has succeeded in bringing the issue to the wider public. The dam, if built, would flood 500 square kilometers of pristine rainforest, force the removal of 12,000 people, and divert a river that some 45,000 indigenous people, including the Kaiapo, have depended on for millennia. The auction went ahead despite three injunctions laid down by Brazilian courts, all of which were overturned. Indigenous groups plan to continue fighting the dam.

To read more about the Belo Monte dam: Off and on again: Belo Monte dam goes forward, protests planned .

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