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Brazil Environmental Agency Issues License for Belo Monte

June 1 (Bloomberg) -- Norte Energia SA, the group building the 25.8 billion-real ($16 billion) Belo Monte dam in Brazil’s Amazon, received a license from the nation’s environment agency to begin construction.

A technical team from the agency will monitor construction of the dam and guarantee compliance with environmental requirements, the agency, known as Ibama, said today in an e-mailed statement.

The project will flood 516 square kilometers (199 square miles) of forest and has been criticized by the Organization of the American States, Avatar director James Cameron and former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

State-run Centrais Electricas Brasileiras SA, known as Eletrobras, is the biggest shareholder in Norte Energia. Vale SA, the world’s biggest iron-ore producer, said April 29 it would take a stake of as much as 9 percent in the group and invest about 2.3 billion reais in the dam.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Millard in Rio de Janeiro at Pmillard1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net

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