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Belo Monte hydro project construction bidding halted again in Brazil

A Brazilian judge has halted for a second time construction bidding on the 11,200-MW Belo Monte hydropower project in Brazil's Amazon. The auction for construction of the hydro project was planned for April 20.

Federal Judge Antonio Carlos Almeida Campelo upheld a request by public prosecutors to suspend the environmental license for the hydropower project so that local indigenous tribes could be consulted on its impact, wire services reported.

The ruling can be appealed by Brazil's government.

A spokesman for the National Electrical Energy Association told wire services the auction will proceed as planned if the decision is overturned.

Last week, a Brasilia judge overturned another decision that could have delayed construction of the 11,200-MW Belo Monte hydro project.

The auction was put on hold by a federal judge in the state of Para, where the dam is to be built, in order to examine petitions submitted by the public prosecutor which claim provisions for environmental protection at the site are inadequate. The administration of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva filed an appeal with a court in Brasilia.

The 11,200-MW hydropower project is expected to begin producing electricity in 2015, and the ministry has estimated the plant will cost around 20 billion reais (US$11.2 billion).

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