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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Odds of rain in Australia iron belt rise - Bureau

Sunday, 22 Jan 2012

Reuters quoted the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said Australia coastal Pilbara iron belt, a cyclone prone region where two thirds of the world traded iron ore is shipped, should expect above-average rainfall over the next three months.

It said 60% to 75% chance of above average rainfall existed over parts Western Australia State which includes the Pilbara.

Iron ore exports from the Pilbara were brought to a stand still last week when Tropical Cyclone Heidi swept across coastal communities dumping up to 250 mm of rain and temporarily halting the port operations of Rio Tinto RIO, BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals Group.

Heavy rains alone do not typically affect port loadings, though inland mine pits and rail lines leading to the coast run the risk of flood damage.

Heidi temporarily shut export terminals in the town of Port Hedland, where around 20 million tonnes of ore is shipped monthly mostly from BHP and Fortescue mines.

Such odds for rainfall set out by meteorologists mean that for every 10 years with similar ocean patterns to those currently being observed about six or seven years would be wetter than average.

(Sourced from Reuters)

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