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Sino-Brazilian consortium wins Brazil dam fight

08 february 2014, 16:21
An overview of the site of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam. ©Reuters/Paulo Santos
An overview of the site of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam. ©Reuters/Paulo Santos
A group led by China's State Grip Corp. Friday won rights to build power lines to the huge Belo Monte dam in Brazil's Amazon, AFP reports.

The IE Belo Monte group, which also includes two affiliates of state-controlled Eletrobras, offered to limit annual revenue to 434.6 million reais ($182 million), 38 percent below the 701-million-reais ceiling.

State Grid has been operating in Brazil since 2010, when it purchased seven Brazilian energy companies. The two Eletrobras units -- Furnas and Eletronorte -- each have a 24.5 percent stake in the consortium, with the Chinese company accounting for the remaining 51 percent.

The group said 55 percent of labor costs would be financed by the Brazilian Development Bank, or BNDES.

The contract extends over 30 years.

The consortium is due to transmit energy along a 2,100-kilometer (1,300-mile) route linking northern Para state to the southeastern state of Minas Gerais, with a capacity to transmit four gigawatts.

The Belo Monte dam, a $13 billion project aiming to produce 11 gigawatts of electricity, is expected to flood a 500-square-kilometer (200-square-mile) area, displacing 16,000 people, according to the government.

It would be the third-biggest dam in the world, after China's Three Gorges and Brazil's Itaipu in the south.

Indigenous groups fear the dam across the Xingu River, a tributary of the Amazon, will harm their way of life. Environmentalists have warned of deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions and irreparable damage to the ecosystem.

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