The Xingu River flows from the tropical savanna of central Mato Grosso, Brazil northward to the Amazon for 1,979 km (1,230 miles). Some 25,000 indigenous people from 18 distinct ethnic groups live along the Xingu. In 1989, an international mobilization led by the Kayapó Indians stopped state-owned electric company Eletronorte´s plans to construct a six-dam complex on the Xingu and its tributary, the Iriri.
Now, Brazil is planning the construction of a huge dam on the Xingu River, called Belo Monte. Belo Monte would be the third-largest hydroelectric project in the world and would require diverting nearly the entire flow of the Xingu through two artificial canals to the dam's powerhouse, leaving indigenous communities along a 100 km stretch of the Xingu´s Big Bend without water, fish, or a means of river transport.
The Belo Monte Dam would cause severe impacts to indigenous villages and areas considered of extreme importance for conservation of biodiversity, as well as irreversible impacts to the Xingu´s fish stocks.
- Read our latest factsheet on the Belo Monte Dam Project
- Visit the website of Movimento Xingu Vivo para Sempre, leader of the campaign against Belo Monte in Brazil (in Portuguese)
- Heart of Brazil Expedition, photo gallery and blog on the Xingu by Sue and Patrick Cunningham
- Visit our interactive Dams in Amazonia database to see planned dams for the Amazon Basin