Belo Monte Dam – Programmed Environmental Disaster

On August 27, 2010, the Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Lula) has signed the concession contract for the Belo Monte dam and hydroelectric project on the Xingu River. Construction is now underway in an area of some of the most unique endemism of species, below and above water, and one of the greatest and most intense biodiversity on earth. In an aquatic region well explored and documented by Heiko Bleher. See the video of Amazon Watch and International Rivers narrated by Sigourney Weaver, and read the real story and the actual facts on the next page…



The Belo Monte hydroelectric plant will be built and operated by the Norte Energia consortium, which is led by state-owned electricity company Chesf, with a 49.98% stake. Other partners include private construction companies Queiroz Galvao, with a 10.02% stake, J Malucelli (9.98%), Cetenco Engenharia (5%), Mendes Junior (3.75%), Serveng (3.75%).
Mines and Energy Minister Marcio Zimmermann said, "The government dismisses claims that the project will have a negative impact on the environment or the local community. Belo Monte is the most studied hydroelectric plant in the world," he said. But the same thing was said when they built the Balbina hydroelectric dam – a complete failure and environmental disaster (see Bleher’s Discus volume 1), which does not produce any energy but has helped for hundreds of life forms to become extinct and is a desert area today in the Amazon region… and also the failure of the Tucurui hydroelectric dam in the Tocantins, where hundreds of fish species have become extinct …
It is said that Belo Monte with a generation capacity of 11.2 GW, will be the third largest hydropower facility in the world behind China’s Three Gorges dam and the Itaipu plant (another failure and immense environmental disaster on the border between Brazil and Paraguay), but it is not mentioned that during the dry season – during 6 or more month – the Belo Monte dams will probably run dry as well and not generate any energy at all, or just a fraction of it …

Brazilian President Lula says the dam is essential and will provide clean and renewable energy to fuel Brazil’s growing economy along the Amazon – which is more then doubtful. Today the Norte Energia consortium led by state-controlled Companhia Hidro Electrica do Sao Francisco has been awarded the BRL 20 billion (US$ 10.9 billion) concession contract for construction of the Belo Monte dam and some of people will have a secured pension …
The decision by the Brazilian government to move forward on the Belo Monte Dam on the Xingu river is setting in motion a plan to build more than 100 dams across the Amazon basin, turning tributaries of the world’s largest river into an endless series of stagnant reservoirs’, says a new short film released by Amazon Watch and International Rivers. And with the new projects of dams under way, future generations will have no chance to see what once was the largest rainforest with the most unique biodiversity on planet earth, as it will come to an end sooner then we can imagine.
The film below, narrated by Sigourney Weaver, uses a Google Earth 3-D tour to illustrate the potential impact of the dam. Belo Monte’s reservoirs will flood 668 square kilometres, including parts of the city of Altamira, displacing more than 20,000 people and several endemic Indian populations. It will reduce the flow of the mighty Xingu to a trickle during parts of the year, reducing water supplies for downstream indigenous populations, blocking fish migration thereby disrupting local fisheries, and condemning several aquatic species to extinction including the highly protected and prohibited endemic Hypancistrus zebra, which does not live anywhere else. Prohibited by the IBAMA, the same environmental organization, which prohibited the catch, trade and export of the species (placing everyone in prison who has it), this same organization gave now green light for the construction of the dams…
Heiko Bleher was able to record over 200 endemic fish species in the area where the dams are being build now, including the beautiful tetra Moenkhausia heikoi named in his honour, several monkey species and uncountable other animals above and below water. These all are already endangered, but claimed to be "protected" by the IBAMA, now suddenly they are no longer "protected" and will definitely soon be history, as well as one of the most unique and pristine river flows on earth with this amazing endemism almost not found elsewhere in Amazonia or in the world.
This nonsense of an hydroelectric dam project (as all dams in Amazonia) is backed by powerful (corrupt?) interests, including the mining sector: Belo Monte is being built to supply electricity for new mines in the Amazon. The video below includes a "flyover" via Google Earth showing the nearby Carajas mine, one of the largest iron ore mines on the planet.
Lula confirming had already said before: that if none of the companies bidding will win, the government will definitely build the Belo Monte dams, see the Portuguese videos and winners at:
More details also to be seen at:



This post is also available in: Italian German French Spanish Português

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.