A Brazilian federal court judge has suspended bidding for the construction and operation of the Belo Monte Dam on the Xingu River in the Amazon.

The ruling has resulted in the suspension of the hydroelectric project's environmental licence that was granted by the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) in February this year.

Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has vowed to appeal the ruling. Executive director of pressure group Amazon Watch, Atossa Soltani said, "Everyone recognises that in Brazil a decision like this could be overturned quickly, so we clearly haven't won the battle yet."

Bidding by a single consortium for the construction and operation contract was scheduled to take place on 20 April, but the judge said that more time was needed to examine claims that indigenous people were not consulted about the project and that insufficient clauses regarding environmental protection were in place.

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