Brazil’s environmental agency Ibama has given final approval for construction to proceed on the controversial Belo Monte Dam in the Amazon region.

The license to build the 11.2GW project in the Amazon region was given to project developers the Norte Energia consortium after a ‘robust technical analysis’ which includes measures to offset environmental and social effects, a news release from Ibama states.

Belo Monte, to be located on the Xingu River, will help Brazil meet soaring demand for electricity once developed, and is a key part of the Brazilian government’s development strategy. It has however faced fierce opposition from environmental groups concerned about negative impacts on the ecosystem and wildlife in the region.

With the final approval license, full construction work can now start on the project, which is expected to be complete by 2019.