January 24, 2019 / 11:50 PM / in a month

Australia iron ore port readies for tropical cyclone

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia’s Pilbara Ports Authority, which operates the world’s largest export hub for iron ore, has given orders for the Port of Dampier, a key port for Rio Tinto, to be cleared on Friday as part of cyclone preparations.

It a notice late on Thursday, the authority said that the ports of Ashburton, Dampier and Port Hedland were preparing for tropical cyclone Riley, which was offshore of northern Western Australia.

“The Port of Dampier will begin clearing vessels from the anchorages and terminals in a staged manner,” the notice said.

The port was due to be cleared by 1 pm Friday, local time, (0500 GMT).

Rio Tinto’s Parker Point and East Intercourse Island operations at Dampier port have a combined capacity of 155 million tonnes a year of iron ore.

Tropical cyclone Riley was moving west southwest parallel to the Australian coastline early on Friday and may strengthen to a Category 3 storm, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said on its website.

Rio Tinto was not immediately able to respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Melanie Burton; editing by Richard Pullin

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