Work at Brazil's 11.2-GW Belo Monte hydropower facility on hold yet again

Work on Brazil's 11.2-GW Belo Monte hydroelectric plant has come to another standstill after more than 100 opponents of the controversial project have begun occupying one of the construction sites.

More than 100 members of a group calling itself "Xingu Alive Forever" say they will occupy the work site indefinitely.

Until the occupation ends, Norte Energia -- the consortium in charge of the project -- says it has closed the site and transferred almost 1,000 workers to other sites.

Sources say the group is comprised of Indians, fishermen and other activists who claim the US$17 billion Belo Monte project will destroy the livelihood of the 40,000 who live in the area along the Xingu River where it is being built.

HydroWorld.com reported in August that a Brazilian federal court had suspended work on the project, saying indigenous people had not been properly consulted.

The country's Supreme Court overturned that ruling, however, saying that local communities had been given the opportunity to express concerns before the project was approved by Brazil's congress.

Work was also stopped by a strike in April.

Construction at Belo Monte began in June 2011.

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