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Iron ore's darkish clouds create silver lining for Pilbara miners

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A casual observer might have thought the past couple of weeks haven’t been good for our iron ore miners. They’d be wrong.

The sector has been hit by a spate of adverse events, most notably the collapse of another of Vale’s tailings dams at Brumadinho in Brazil. That led to the shutting in of more than 80 million tonnes of annual production at mines that used similar dams to the one that collapsed.

More recently, Rio Tinto disclosed that Cyclone Veronica and a fire at its Cape Lambert port facility would result in the loss of 14 million tonnes of ore this year. BHP followed up with this week’s operational review, which revealed that it, too, had reduced its guidance as a result of Veronica. It expects to lose between six and eight million tonnes. Fortescue has lost 2.5 million tonnes.

Water and mud from the failed tailings dam at Brumadinho in Brazil. The collapse of another Vale tailings dam and the impact of Cyclone Veronica on the Pilbara miners have removed 100 million tonnes of iron ore from the market this year.Credit:Victor Moriyama\Bloomberg

There has been, however, a silver lining, for the Australian producers at least, within those darkish clouds.

The iron ore price started the year around $US68 a tonne after dipping to just above $US60 a tonne........

© Brisbane Times