BHP says iron ore mines operating fully as cyclone fades

SYDNEY Wed Jan 1, 2014 11:30pm EST

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SYDNEY (Reuters) - BHP Billiton on Thursday said its Australian iron ore mines have resumed full operations following a cyclone that battered coastal regions and closed major shipping terminals this week.

Port Hedland, the world's biggest iron ore terminal and used by BHP to export nearly 200 million tonnes of the steel-making material annually, sustained only minor damage from Cyclone Christine and reopened late on Tuesday.

"All mines are also fully operational," BHP, the world's third biggest iron ore producer said. "If there is any material impact to production it will be reported in the company's next operational review."

The storm slammed into the Australia's northwestern coast late on Monday packing winds up to 160 km/hour (100 miles/hour), before losing strength as its crossed the Pilbara iron ore mining belt.

Fortescue Metals Group and Rio Tinto also said their operations were returning to normal.

(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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