Latin America

Brazil protesters support 11,182-Belo Monte

Protesters forced temporary closure of the banks in Altamira in June in a demonstration of support for development of the 11,182-MW Belo Monte hydroelectric project.

A statement from the protesters, reported by Business News Americas, said the movement, known as MTDX, favors development of the Amazon and Xingu river regions. It said the group includes more than 100 non-governmental organizations representing farmers, workers, and other groups in the Amazon Region.

Local courts have blocked studies contracted by utility Eletronorte after environmental groups and public prosecutors spoke out against the project. Opponents allege the utility failed to consult indigenous populations around the site on the Xingu River in Para State.

MTDX claims the project would improve local living conditions and promote local development. It wants federal courts to approve the project’s environmental impact studies.

Earlier this year, President Guido Mantega of Brazil’s National Development Bank (BNDES) said a concession for Belo Monte is expected to be offered for bids in 2007. He said the project was being “redimensioned” so it would have less effect on the environment.