The final environmental license for Brazil’s controversial 11.2GW Belo Monte hydro scheme is to be issued in 2015, according to officials of Brazilian environment protection regulator Ibama. The regulator has a specialist team based at the construction site monitoring all works undertaken. The installation license for the project was issued on 1 June 1.

Ibama said at that time that the Norte Energia consortium, which is responsible for the project, will need to invest 100 m reais (US$60mn) in environmental conservation projects in the area surrounding the plant.

Belo Monte will be built on the Xingu river, in the Amazon region. It will be the world’s third largest hydro plant and the second largest in Brazil, after the 14 GW Itaipú scheme on the Brazil Paraguay border.

The Norte Energia consortium, which won the rights to build and operate Belo Monte in an auction held in April 2010, is led by state-run utility Eletrobras Chesf, which holds a 49.98% stake. Other participants include Queiroz Galvão (10.02%), Galvão Engenharia (3.75%), Cetenco Engenharia (5%), Mendes Júnior (3.75%), Serveng (3.75%), J Malucelli (9.98%), Contern (3.75%) and Gaia Energia (10.02%). Brazilian national development bank BNDES is financing up to 80% of the project.