Environmental authorities issue license for Belo Monte hydro project

Brazil’s environmental authority, Ibama, has issued a preliminary license for the 11.2 GW Belo Monte hydroelectric project in the Amazon region, subject to a number of conditions covering environmental concerns and other issues.

The preliminary license allows the auction for construction of the project to go ahead, although the license does include dozens of conditions that must be met by future developers of the project.

Belo Monte is set to cost at least 16 billion reais (US$9.3 billion), according to a statement released by the Brazilian Association of Infrastructure and Basic Industries.

The project, on the Xingu River in the state of Para, is Brazil’s second-largest hydro project after the 14 GW Itaipu plant in southern Brazil.

The auction for Brazil's Belo Monte hydro plant will take place in April, a spokesperson for Brazil's mines and energy ministry told Business News Americas.

The auction previously has faced delays which stem largely from difficulties in securing an environmental license for the project, (HydroWorld 11/19/09)

According to Ibama, Belo Monte constructors will have to pledge 1.5 billion reais (US$793 million) for preservation works in the area to compensate for the environmental impacts of the project.

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