Some Australian ports reopen with cyclone to miss iron ore hub

Varanus Island. Credit: Pilbara Ports Authority

Two ports on Australia’s west coast reopened as a storm tracks far from the nation’s iron ore hub, with the system expected to form into a cyclone overnight before making landfall over the weekend.

Operations resumed at Cape Preston West and Varanus Island, according to a statement from Pilbara Ports Authority late Friday. The two harbors, along with Dampier and Ashburton, had been cleared in anticipation of the system making its way south toward the region.

Australia’s west coast is the nation’s most important region for the production and export of iron ore, and also includes a number of oil and gas operations. The storm is forecast to miss major mining sites in the Pilbara region, but could impact the state’s major banana-growing region at Carnarvon.

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Lincoln, currently offshore, is expected to turn to the south toward the far west Pilbara coast overnight and re-intensify, according to a notice from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology. On Saturday, the system will most likely pass just to the west of the Exmouth-Ningaloo area, and then cross the Gascoyne coast before weakening inland on Sunday.

The port of Dampier is used by Rio Tinto Group to export iron ore. The company, the world’s biggest miner of the steelmaking commodity, didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment.

(By Jason Scott)


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