The Pilbara port, Australia’s main iron ore exporting terminal, has been forced to clear vessels from its harbor due to an impending tropical cyclone that is likely to hit the country’s West Coast.
The Pilbara Ports Authority posted an alert on its website on Jan 20 indicating the cyclone is expected to bring substantial waves from Thursday along with a gale force on Jan 22 as the storm nears the coastline. The authority directed all ships to sail and clear the inner dock late on Wednesday.
Port Hedland, the largest global iron ore loading hub is used by three of Australia’s four major iron ore miners, including BHP, Fortescue Metals, and Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill, according to media reports. Rio Tinto, the leading global iron ore producer, uses the nearby port of Dampier, per reports.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology noted a tropical low category 1 or 2 cyclone could reach the Pilbara coast and though these levels are lower on the risk scale, it has the potential to interrupt port and mining operations.