BHP, Rio evade worst as cyclone misses major ore port | Fin24
 
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BHP, Rio evade worst as cyclone misses major ore port

Jan 31 2016 17:27
Angus Whitley

Severe Tropical Cyclone along the far north Queensland Coast of Australia. (File, AFP)

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Sydney - BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and other iron-ore producers in northwest Australia evaded the worst of Cyclone Stan after the weather system missed major export hubs and weakened as it moved inland.

The cyclone made landfall early on Sunday with less force than expected east of Port Hedland, the world’s largest bulk-export terminal, the Bureau of Meteorology said on its website. While the bureau expects heavy rain, potential flooding and gusts of up to 90 kilometers an hour in some places, it said Stan has faded to a category 1 cyclone and will gradually lose power.

Port Hedland is the maritime gateway to Asia for miners hunting for iron ore in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. BHP, which had evacuated workers as Stan approached, reopened sites at the port early on Sunday, Matthew Nette, a spokesperson for the company, said in an email. Rio, which had sent ships to safe anchorages, said in an email on Sunday its facilities west of Port Hedland at Dampier and Cape Lambert were back to normal.

“The cyclone danger has passed,” the weather bureau said in an advisory to residents in Port Hedland and other communities either side of Cyclone Stan’s path. The bureau initially said Stan might hit the coast as a category 3 cyclone.

BHP’s Port Hedland operations “experienced limited impact,” the company spokesperson said. “Safety inspections on site have been completed and operations will progressively recommence this morning.”

Take shelter

Still, Western Australia authorities told communities in the middle of the cyclone and in its direct path to take shelter immediately. Homes and lives are in danger, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services said on its website.

Those residents should remain in the strongest parts of their homes and stay away from doors and windows, the department said.

bhp billiton  |  rio tinto  |  iron ore  |  cyclones  |  weather
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