The environmental catastrophe of the Belo Monte Dam

Environmentalists who warned of the catastrophe building the hydroelectric plant Belo Monte Dam could cause were right

Belo Monte energy
Belo Monte Dam. Photo: Marcos Corrêa/PR

Over 20 years before its construction, the Belo Monte Dam in northern Brazil has been surrounded by controversy. Located on the Xingu River in the state of Pará, environmentalists and indigenous groups opposed the Belo Monte project from the very beginning, until it was eventually completed in the 2010s, during the center-left Workers’ Party government.

It is currently the world’s fourth-largest hydroelectric dam complex and the second-largest in Brazil, behind the Itaipu Dam on the Paraguayan border. In all, building Belo Monte cost BRL 30 billion (USD 5.85 billion) in public and private investment.

And now, ten years...

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