Extreme Weather as Cyclone Nears Pilbara Coast

“Extreme weather preparations continue across our mining operations in anticipation of the cyclone moving further inland,” the miner said in a statement.

“Additional operations will be suspended if necessary,” it added.

BHP Billiton had earlier suspended shipping and rail operations at Port Hedland, with all personnel safely evacuated from site and tie-down activities completed, the company said.

Port Hedland, Australia’s biggest iron ore port that is also used by miners Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. (FMG.AU) and Atlas Iron Ltd. (AGO.AU), remains on red alert as Rusty edges closer to the coast.

Having strengthened to a Category 4 system overnight, Rusty was downgraded as of 0600 GMT to a Category 3 system that is due to move over land late Wednesday afternoon, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said in an update on its website.

The cyclone is expected to cross east of Port Hedland, which will escape Rusty’s worst winds, the bureau added.

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