Force majeure after fire disrupts Rio ore flow
Rio Tinto is unable to supply some of its iron ore customers after a fire on Thursday damaged parts of its Cape Lambert export facility.
A Rio Tinto spokesman said it had declared force majeure on customers impacted by fire damage to a section of the Robe River screen facility that separates Robe Valley lump and fine prod ucts. Robe Valley produced 31.2 million tonnes of iron ore in 2017 and Rio Tinto’s 53 per cent share accounted for about 6 per cent of the Anglo-Australian’s iron ore production for the year.
West Business understands the damage has stopped the processing of any Robe Valley product at Cape Lambert.
Some shipments will be possible from already screened ore stockpiled at the port north of Karratha. “Rio Tinto is assessing the full impact of the damage and will do all it can to try and minimise disruption to our customers,” the spokesman said.
Other ore exports are unaffected.
Robe Valley and West Angelas are owned by the Robe River joint venture of Rio Tinto, Mitsui (33 per cent) and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation (14 per cent).
In October the venture agreed to spend $1.55 billion ($2.16 billion) to sustain production at the two operations.
The work will create 1200 jobs, with first ore due in 2021. Equipment automation will include the retrofitting of 34 haul trucks.
In April 2018 a spectacular fire at Rio Tinto’s Yandicoogina operation in the Pilbara started in a train load-out bin and rapidly moved along a conveyor.
The plant fire.