A ship left Port Hedland in Western Australia today carrying the billionth tonne of iron ore that Australian mining giant BHP has sent to Japan.
Many of the older mines in the WA’s Pilbara region were built on the back of burgeoning Japanese demand in the late 1960s and 70s, when the country expanded its heavy industry, manufacturing and technology sectors.
BHP iron ore president Jimmy Wilson said the company shipped its first tonne to Japan in 1966 and since then has expanded its production capacity to over 220 million tonnes per year.
The company expects to ship its billionth tonne to China later this year.
Booming iron ore demand in recent years has seen huge developments change the landscape of Western Australia. The mining industry has been cyclical over the years, rotating between boom and bust.
However these two aerial photos of Port Hedland show the impact the industry has had on the region since the late 1960s.