Wetter, more cyclonic summer forecast for miners

Mining operations in tropical regions should prepare for an increased chance of cyclones and wet weather this spring and summer.

It comes as the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) released its tropical cyclone outlook for 2021-22, zoning in on the upcoming season from November to April.

The BOM split its report up into four sections, including the western, north-western, northern and eastern regions of Australia.

The north-western region, which encompasses the upper-reaches of Western Australia and the mining-rich Pilbara region within that, has a 62 per cent chance of an above-average cyclone season.

The north-western region of Australia experiences five cyclones on average each season, with around 40 per cent of cyclones affecting the region’s coastal areas.

The eastern region of Australia, which encompasses Queensland and New South Wales, including the coal expanses of the Bowen Basin, Surat Basin and the Galilee Basin, has a 66 per cent chance of an above-average cyclone season.

This section of Australia generally experiences four cyclones per season.

The BOM puts its 2021-22 predictions down to the increased chance of La Niña development in the Pacific Ocean along with expected warmer sea surface temperatures in Australia’s north.

If the La Niña phenomenon was to occur this coming cyclone season, Australia can expect the first cyclone to make landfall earlier than normal. In past La Niña years, cyclones have arrived as early as mid-December.

In non-La Niña years, the first tropical cyclone typically takes place in early January.

In April, Western Australia’s mining sector was impacted by Cyclone Seroja after it hit the coast between Kalbarri and Geraldton.

Fenix Resources had to suspend road haulage from the Iron Ridge iron ore mine to its port storage facility in Geraldton, Western Australia, due to the impact of the cyclone.

In January, Queensland miners were affected by the impacts of Cyclone Imogen.

Laneway Resources was forced to suspend activities at its Agate Creek gold mine for 10 days after ex-Tropical Cyclone Imogen, as it was hit by 500 millimetres of rain.

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