BHP, Fortescue, Government announcements, Iron ore, News, Rio Tinto

Tropical Cyclone Ilsa shuts down Port Hedland

Pilbara Ports Authority has cleared all berthed ships from Port Hedland out to sea as Cyclone Ilsa closes in on WA.  

Port Hedland is a key sea gateway in the export of minerals and metals and is one of the largest iron ore loading ports in the world.  

For the month of February, Port Hedland exported roughly 39.3 million tonnes of material.  

Of the 39.3Mt of exports, 38.8Mt was exclusively iron ore, bound mostly for China. 

Roughly ten cargo ships of iron ore leave Port Hedland every day. 

But now the Port will remain out of operation until the cyclone passes through, which is expected sometime tomorrow.  

Port Hedland has not been forced to shut down since 2019, when tropical cyclone Veronica struck the coast in March of that same year. Veronica brought destructive winds of more than 200km per hour, and rain that was five to seven times the March average. 

Port Hedland was forced to close for five days, reducing Rio Tinto’s iron ore production by an estimated 14 million tonnes, BHP’s by six to eight million tonnes, and Fortescue Metals’ by two million tonnes.  

On Wednesday, Ilsa clocked in as a category two tropical cyclone with winds measuring up to 155km per hour. However, as it closes in on the WA coastline, Ilsa is looking likely to develop into a category four system.  

“In that tropical cyclone area we are expecting winds to reach at least 150km per hour through this afternoon and evening as that tropical cyclone intensifies,” Bureau of Meteorology expert Miriam Bradbury told 9News. 

“When it crosses the coast, winds close to the core of the cyclone may possibly reach as much as 275km per hour.” 

Send this to a friend