Iron ore market can absorb supply loss from BHP fire: traders – by James Regan (Reuters U.S. – June 1, 2017)

SYDNEY – A well-supplied global iron ore market will easily absorb lost production due to a fire at BHP’s big Mt Whaleback iron ore mine in Australia, traders in the commodity said on Thursday.

A fire earlier on Thursday broke out at the mine, the largest of seven operated by BHP in the Pilbara iron ore belt of Western Australia state. BHP said all staff were safe but that operations had been suspended as an investigation got underway.

Images in local media showed fire and smoke billowing out of the processing facilities at the mine. “All personnel at site have been accounted for and we are working to ensure the site is safe,” a company spokeswoman said.

A major outage at Mount Whaleback could provide a much-needed boost in the price of iron ore, which has tumbled nearly 40 percent from a February peak amid a mounting supply glut This week iron ore traded under $60 a ton for the first time since last October.

But traders said not to expect a surge in the price anywhere near the records of about $200 a ton five or six years ago.

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