Pilbara Ports Authority has given orders for the Port of Dampier, a key port for Rio Tinto, to be cleared as part of cyclone preparations.

It a notice late on Thursday, the Pilbara Ports Authority – which operates the world’s largest export hub for iron ore – said the ports of Ashburton, Dampier and Port Hedland were preparing for the arrival of Tropical Cyclone Riley.

‘The Port of Dampier will begin clearing vessels from the anchorages and terminals in a staged manner,’ the notice said.

The port was due to be cleared by 1pm local time on Friday (1600 AEDT).

Rio Tinto’s Parker Point and East Intercourse Island operations at Dampier port have a combined capacity of 155 million tonnes a year of iron ore.

Tropical Cyclone Riley was moving west southwest parallel to the Australian coastline early on Friday, and may strengthen to a Category 3 storm, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said.

Rio Tinto was not immediately able to respond to a request for comment.