Brazil: violence halts work at Belo Monte dam

Work on Brazil's controversial $13 billion Belo Monte hydro-dam has been at a halt since Nov. 11, when workers torched buildings at three work sites of the Monte Belo Construction Consortium (CCBM), hired by parastatal Norte Energia to build the massive complex. The violence broke out after CCBM proposed a seven percent wage hike to the workers in an area where the inflation rate is at 30%. In addition to labor undest, CCBM has also faced physical obstruction by local indigenous peoples. On Oct. 9 a group of protesters—150 natives and local fishermen—interrupted construction, accusing Norte Energia of backtracking on accords signed in June when indigenous people occupied the dam site for three weeks. (AFP, Nov. 13; Xingo Vivo, Nov. 11) A local court halted construction of the project Aug. 14, finding that indigenous inhabitants had not been consulted, but Brazil's Supreme Federal Tribunal ordered construction to resume two weeks later, citing the project's criticality to "the administrative order, the economic order and the Brazilian energy policy." Brazil's Prosecutor General is to meanwhile investigate the question of whether indigenous peoples had been properly consulted. (The Rio Times, Aug. 30)




Brazil rejects Amazon mining project

Brazil’s Federal Public Ministry last month rejected Belo Sun Mining Corporation’s proposed “Volta Grande” gold mining project downstream of the controversial Belo Monte dam. The end result of a five-month investigation into the project’s environmental impacts, the MPF stated that Canadian-owned Belo Sun did not prepare adequate socio-environmental impact studies and further failed to consult indigenous communities that may be affected by the project. (Intercontinental Cry, Feb. 14)

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