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11,200-MW Belo Monte hydro project gets green light for construction

Brazil's environment agency, Ibama, has approved the start of initial construction work for the 11,200-MW Belo Monte hydropower project in Brazil's Amazon, wire services reported.

The hydro project will be built on the Xingu River in the state of Para.

In August 2010, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva signed the concession contract for the construction of the hydropower project.

Norte Energia, the consortium that won the auction to build Belo Monte, is made up of state-run utility holding company Eletrobras, Brazil's second-largest pension fund, Petros, and several local construction companies, Reuters reported.  

The Norte Energia consortium won the bidding process for the Amazon dam and hydro project after construction bidding faced several delays due to opposition to the project.

The Belo Monte hydropower project is expected to begin producing electricity in 2015. Some estimates suggest the project will cost around 20 billion reais (US$11.2 billion).

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