Cyclone Forces BHP to Close Groote Eylandt in Australia

29 March 2010 (Last Updated March 29th, 2010 18:30)

BHP Billiton has halted production at its Groote Eylandt manganese mine on Australia’s Gulf of Carpentaria in its far north due to Tropical Cyclone Paul, which was downgraded to category one overnight. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said the cyclone could return to the north of Aust

BHP Billiton has halted production at its Groote Eylandt manganese mine on Australia’s Gulf of Carpentaria in its far north due to Tropical Cyclone Paul, which was downgraded to category one overnight.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said the cyclone could return to the north of Australia after regaining strength at sea.

BHP closed its mine as a precautionary measure.

The Groote Eylandt mine produces more than 3.8 million tons annually or nearly a quarter of the world's manganese.

Communities along the Northern Territory's east coast have also been on alert for destructive winds and possible flooding from Cyclone Paul.

BHP holds a 60% stake in Groote Eylandt Mining while the rest is owned by South Africa's Anglo American.