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Geological challenge could halt Belize dam


A CANADIAN-owned company was accused of 'fundamentally flawed' geological work in its plans for a dam in Belize by opponents fighting its approval in the British Privy Council.

A five-strong judicial committee heard how studies showed the Chalillo dam, backed by energy company Fortis, would sit on shale and sandstone, not granite as a Belizean environmental assessment was told.

Although construction began in the middle of 2003, an environmental coalition wants the Privy Council to order a new environmental assessment on the $30M (£17.2M) which is being built by Belize Electric a subsidiary of Fortis.

The coalition claims the 49m high dam will flood 810ha of rainforest that has been left untouched by humans since the age of the Mayas about 500 years ago.

The Privy Council allocated two days for the hearing last month and is expected to make an announcement this month.

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