The eyes of the global iron ore and steel industries will be on the waters of northwestern Australia from now until the weekend with a possible cyclone on track to hit the Pilbara iron ore mining and shipping areas.
For the second time in two months bad weather has seen the world’s largest iron ore export hub at Port Hedland cleared of shipping.
The Pilbara Ports Authority said Wednesdayvvv night in a statement that all large vessels in the port had been ordered “to sail and clear the inner anchorages” by 1am Thursday Sydney time.
“As of 1400 (Western Summer Time), a tropical low is located approximately 950 kilometres north northeast of Port Hedland.
“The low is forecast to bring significant swell from Thursday afternoon and gale force winds from Friday as it approaches the Pilbara coast,” the Authority said in a statement issued on Wednesday night.
The Perth Weather Bureau says the low could develop into a category one or two cyclone and be on the Pilbara coast on Friday afternoon.
Port Hedland was closed for a total of 26 hours from December 10 to December 11 due to significant swells generated by Tropical Low.
There are two tropical lows in the area, one referred to in the statement, the other is out in the Indian Ocean near Cocos (Keeling) Island. It is moving west – away from the WA coast.
The news was noted by traders in the iron ore market, as the price of 62% fines delivered to northern China fell 78 cents to $US170.55 a tonne. However the price of 65% fines (from Brazil) rose $US1.60 a tonne to $US194.10.
If the low develops into a cyclone and keeps on its current track, it will see traders become more concerned about supply.