Belo Monte Dam: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the Belo Monte Dam.

  • The Belo Monte Dam is a large hydro-electric dam being constructed on the Xingu River in Brazil. It will be the 3rd largest dam in the world when completed.
  • There have been plans for the Belo Monte Dam as long ago as 1975. A 2010 plan called for almost 300 dams to be built in Brazil to provide the country’s power.
  • There has been a lot of opposition to the project. It is predicted that the dam will destroy 1,500 square kilometres of rain forest and cause 40,000 local people to lose their homes.
  • The finished dam would be on the Xingu River, which is almost 2,000 km long. An estimated 25,000 native people from 40 tribes live in the Xingu River basin.
  • The Kayapo Indians are one of the tribes who have been especially opposed to the dam. Because of little contact with the outside world, the Kayapo are more likely to develop diseases when workers build the dam.
  • The project would also include two canals and an extensive system of dykes. It is estimated it would require more earth to be moved than was moved to build the Panama Canal.
  • The Amazon is the world’s largest rain forest, covering about 5,500,000 square kilometres. Every year, an area almost the size of Wales disappears for logging and other purposes.
  • The dam’s design calls for 3 separate dams, of which the Belo Monte would be the largest. The finished Belo Monte Dam would be 3,545 metres long and 90 metres high.
  • The dam would create a reservoir covering an area of over 300 square km. This huge reservoir would have a capacity of just over 2,000,000,000 cubic metres.
  • When completed, the dam will generate enough electricity for over 23 million homes. That equates to the population of London, Manchester and Glasgow combined.

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