January 10, 2019 / 10:04 AM / 6 months ago

Blaze damages Rio Tinto's Cape Lambert iron-ore export facility

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Rio Tinto Ltd closed part of its Cape Lambert iron-ore export terminal in Western Australia after a fire caused damage, the company said on Thursday.

The blaze occurred early on Thursday and was extinguished with no injuries, the company said in an emailed statement. Cape Lambert is located about 1,250 km (780 miles) north of the Western Australian capital of Perth.

A video posted on the Facebook page of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union showed flames rippling down a conveyor belt in the pre-dawn darkness as on-looking workers exclaim.

“Operations at part of the Cape Lambert facility have restarted while impacted areas remain closed. An investigation into the cause of the fire has commenced,” Rio Tinto said.

It was too early to tell whether there was any effect on exports, with the damage still being assessed, said Jesse Riseborough, a Rio Tinto spokesman.

Cape Lambert is one of two ports Rio uses to ship iron ore from Australia’s Pilbara mining region. It has an annual capacity of 205 million tonnes, according to the miner’s website.

Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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