Bloomberg News

Fortescue Resumes Mining After Floods Trigger Halt

January 16, 2012

(Corrects date of resumption and spelling of spokeswoman’s name in second paragraph.)

Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. resumed operations at two of its Pilbara mines after flooding caused by Tropical Cyclone Heidi prompted Australia’s third-biggest iron ore producer to suspend work on Jan. 13.

“We’ve resumed mining at Cloudbreak and Christmas Creek” on Jan. 14, Elizabeth Gosch, a company spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview yesterday. She declined to specify any impact on production.

Work was halted at Cloudbreak, which produces 40 million metric tons a year of the steelmaking material, and Christmas Creek, with output of 15 million tons a year, after Heidi crossed the coast east of Port Hedland as a tropical low on Jan. 12. The port, 1,300 kilometers (830 miles) north of Perth in Western Australia, is the world’s biggest iron ore terminal, and was subject to heavy rain and strong winds.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued warnings at 9:20 a.m. local time yesterday for flooding in the Yule and Turner river catchments, and later issued a similar statement for the Fortescue River catchment. The remnants of Heidi are located in the northeast Gascoyne region, south of Port Hedland, and heavy rainfall is no longer expected, according to the bureau’s website.

Port Hedland harbor, used by BHP Billiton Ltd. and Fortescue, reopened Jan. 12, as did the Dampier and Cape Lambert ports, which handle shipments by Rio Tinto Group.

There’s been no halt to production at Rio, which has 14 mines in the region, the London-based company said Jan. 13 in an e-mailed statement. Rail services are running normally, it said.

BHP, the world’s biggest mining company, said last week it was monitoring the storm and would stop operations if necessary. It will publish any potential impact on its mines in the next production report, Fiona Martin, a spokeswoman for the Melbourne-based company, said by phone yesterday. The company has at least seven iron ore mines in the Pilbara.

--Editors: Keith Gosman, Edward Johnson

To contact the reporter on this story: Jacob Greber in Sydney at jgreber@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Tighe at ptighe@bloomberg.net


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