BHP, Rio Operations Resume as Cyclone Stan Fades in Australia

  • Cyclone made landfall Sunday with less power than expected
  • Port Hedland reopens after closing for more than 48 hours

BHP Billiton Ltd., Rio Tinto Group and other mining companies in northwest Australia are resuming operations after Cyclone Stan missed major export hubs and was downgraded as it lost power and moved inland.

The ex-tropical Category 2 cyclone will move through Western Australia’s interior Monday with rain and thunderstorms forecast for parts of the state’s Goldfields region and the Pilbara iron ore district, the Bureau of Meteorology said on its website. The weather system made landfall early Sunday east of Port Hedland, the world’s largest bulk-export terminal, with less force than expected, the bureau said.

Port Hedland is the gateway to Asia for miners including BHP and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., which produce iron ore in the Pilbara. After closing for more than 48 hours, the port said on its website Sunday that the harbor was again open for business.

“Safety inspections on site have been completed and operations will progressively recommence,” BHP said Monday in an e-mailed statement. “Our Port Hedland operations experienced limited impact and the rail network is currently being inspected.” The world’s biggest miner had evacuated workers as Stan approached.

Rio, which had sent ships to safe anchorages, said in an e-mail Sunday its facilities west of Port Hedland at Dampier and Cape Lambert were back to normal. 

Take Shelter

Still, Western Australia authorities closed roads and warned some communities to prepare for winds with speeds of up to 90 kilometers (56 miles) an hour, heavy rainfall and potential flash flooding.

The weather system could cause damage to homes and property as it moves inland and “is expected to gradually weaken over the next 24 hours,” the state’s Department of Fire and Emergency Services said on its website.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.