A cyclone that hit Australia’s north-west coastline has caused the closure of the country’s Port Hedland iron ore export terminal and halted operations at Newmont Mining’s Telfer gold mine.
BHP Billiton, the main user of the port, has continued mining but was keenly observing the movement of the cyclone, which has caused evacuations at oil rigs and the port for the last 12 days, as it headed towards the Pilbara iron ore area, the company said.
A BHP spokeswoman said that BHP foresees some disruptions to its iron ore activities on account of heavy rains from the cyclone, according to Reuters.
“But otherwise we are mainly just keeping a watch on the cyclone’s path at this stage,” she said.
Newcrest Mining stopped operations at its Telfer gold mine in the Pilbara late on 21 December as a result of the cyclone.
Despite the closures, Dampier port, which is used by Rio Tinto, was operating normally.
A Rio spokesman said the Bureau of Meteorology said it believes the storm will pass well to the east of any iron ore operations.
According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Cyclone Lawrence was progressing south towards Eighty Mile Beach with up to 230km/h of floods and destructive winds anticipated in certain areas.
Heavy rainfall is anticipated in eastern Pilbara region, where BHP will conduct a major portion of its iron ore mining this year.