21 Apr 2010

Contract to dam Amazon tributary awarded

2:00 pm on 21 April 2010

A consortium of nine companies has won the right to build a hydroelectric dam on a tributary of the Amazon in Brazil.

Officials say the dam on the Xingu River is crucial for development, but critics including indigenous groups and environmentalists argue thousands of people will be displaced and an ecosystem damaged.

The bidding had been halted three times before a final appeal by the government allowed the winning bidder to be announced, the BBC reports.

About 500 people gathered on Tuesday outside the offices of the Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency in the capital, Brasilia, to protest against the auction.

The consortium is led by state-owned firm Companhia Hidro Eletrica do Sao Francisco.