Port Hedland and other ports clearing anchorages and berths as storm approaches

Pilbara Ports, the operator of Australia’s key iron ore exporting ports, is clearing ships from the northwestern ports of Port Hedland, Dampier and Ashburton as tropical cyclone Veronica heads towards the coast. A separate cyclone is also approaching in the northeast.

Port Hedland is the world’s largest export hub for iron ore. Iron ore miner Rio Tinto is the main exporter at Dampier, while the second and third biggest exporters of the steelmaking material, BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals Group, ship from Port Hedland.

Tropical Cyclone Veronica is forecast to hit the coast halfway between Dampier and Port Hedland on Sunday morning March 24th. The ports are around 250 km apart by road.

Rio Tinto said that ships have been cleared as a precaution from Dampier and the port at Cape Lambert, which it operates. It said that all its other operations in the region were continuing as normal.

BHP said it was clearing its ships from Port Hedland, while Fortescue said it was monitoring the situation closely.

Miners were preparing for a second tropical cyclone that was heading towards the northeast. Authorities in the Northern Territory have declared a state of emergency. Tropical Cyclone Trevor is expected to hit Port McArthur around midday on Saturday.

Glencore told Reuters on Thursday that it was making preparations at its McArthur River zinc mine in case the cyclone moved towards its Bing Bong loading facility or mine site in the coming days.

On Wednesday March 20th Rio Tinto suspended its Weipa bauxite mining operations at the northeastern tip of Australia.