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Report: Floods force BHP to halt 2 iron ore mines in Western Australia

Mining giant BHP Group is believed to have temporarily shut down operations at its Whaleback and Eastern Ridge mines, part of the Newman iron ore operation in Western Australia, due to floods caused by heavy rains brought by former tropical cyclone Blake, The Australian reported Jan. 9.

BHP owns 85% of Newman, and Japanese companies Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and Itochu Corp. hold stakes of 10% and 5%, respectively. During the September 2019 quarter, the Newman operation produced 16.3 million tonnes of iron ore, slightly down from 16.4 Mt in the year-ago period.

The company's rail operations in the area were also disrupted due to water around the tracks, the report said.

Amid the torrential rains, a Qantas Airways Ltd. plane carrying mineworkers slid off the runway at the Newman Airport in the state, the report said.

All 80 passengers and crew safely deplaned and no injuries were reported, although the incident forced the closure of the airport.

Fortescue Metals Group Ltd.'s Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak mines in the Chichester Hub iron ore operation are said to be in the path of the tropical low, according to the report.