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Green light for work on Amazon dam

A Brazilian environmental agency has given approval for initial work to begin on a massive hydroelectric dam planned for the heart of the Amazon jungle.

But several legal and environmental hurdles must still be surpassed if the Belo Monte dam is to be completed by the government's target date of 2015.

Environmental agency Ibama said on its website it approved the clearing of 588 acres of forest at the site.

It also said Norte Energia, the consortium that won bidding on the 15 billion US dollar dam, can build roads to reach the remote site.

The 11,000-megawatt project to dam the Xingu River, which feeds the Amazon, would be the third-largest such hydroelectric project in the world and has sparked opposition by international environmental and indigenous rights groups.

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