(Reuters) – Rio Tinto on Monday cut its 2019 outlook for iron ore shipments from Australia’s Pilbara region due to production disruption and damage caused by tropical cyclone Veronica, which hit Western Australia last week. The world’s No. 2 miner of the steelmaking material said annual Pilbara shipments are now expected to be at the lower end of its previous guidance of between 338 and 350 million tonnes. Rio’s 2018 iron ore shipments from the region totaled 338.2 million tonnes. The damage from the cyclone coupled with a fire at a port facility in January will lead to a loss of about 14 million tonnes of production in 2019, the miner said in a statement. On Friday, Rio issued force majeure notices to some iron ore customers due to damage from the cyclone. Force majeure is invoked when a company tells a counterparty it cannot perform a contractual obligation due to circumstances outside its control. Rio in January had declared force majeure on iron ore shipments to some customers following a fire at its Cape Lambert export terminal in Australia. Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by Daniel Wallis
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