Australian Port Evacuates as Cyclone Threatens Iron Ore Mines

The approach of Severe Tropical Cyclone Rusty toward the north-west Australian coast triggered orders for the evacuation of parts of Port Hedland, site of the world’s biggest bulk export terminal.

People in low-lying areas should move to emergency shelters as the upgraded Category 3 storm, with winds of as strong as 195 kilometers (121 miles) an hour likely to cause “rapid and powerful flooding,” Western Australia’s Department of Fire and Emergency Services said today in an e-mailed statement.

Port Hedland, a town of about 20,200 people, exports iron ore from mines owned by BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. and Atlas Iron Ltd. Rusty is located about 170 kilometers north-east of Port Hedland, the Bureau of Meteorology said in an update at 8 a.m. western standard time on its website.

Cyclone season lasts from about November to April and high winds as well as flooding can disrupt iron ore operations in the world’s biggest exporter.

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