Brazil Court Revokes Injunction Blocking Belo Monte Dam Operation

Photo credit: Lunae Parrocho/Reuters

A Brazilian federal court has revoked a lower court's injunction that had suspended the operating license for the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, one of the world's largest, Brazil's Energy Ministry said in a Twitter post on Wednesday.

The ministry said a decision from the federal court in Brasilia lifted the earlier order blocking the beginning of power generation at Belo Monte, which had been planned for the coming weeks.

Belo Monte, a dam built on the Xingu River in the middle of the Amazon forest, will have a total installed capacity of 11,233 megawatts when completed, exceeded only by China's Three Gorges and Brazil's Itaipu dams.

The complex is being built and will be operated by Norte Energia, a consortium led by Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA , or Eletrobras; Companhia Energética de Minas Gerais , or Cemig; Brazil's Neoenergia SA, and miner Vale SA.

The injunction was issued two weeks ago by a local judge in Altamira, a town in Pará state close to the dam. The judge found that the consortium and the Brazilian government failed to meet a previous license requirement to reorganize the regional office of Funai, the national Indian protection agency.

Brazil is counting on the dam, now several years behind schedule, to help fill a shortfall in expected energy deliveries caused by delays in new generation and transmission projects, rising demand and a recent drought.

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