The Brazilian National Bank for Economic and Social development (BNDES) has granted a $10.8bn loan to the consortium in charge of building the controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric dam.

The loan represents 80 per cent of the overall investment in this hydropower facility, according to Efe agency.

Belo Monte project has prompted strong opposition from environmentalist and local communities because the project will require the flooding of a big area of the Amazon jungle.

The plant will have an installed capacity of 11,233 MW, and incorporates 24 hydro turbines.

It is expected to be operational by February 2015 and will be the third-largest hydroelectric dam in the world.

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