Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Miner BHP expects one-week recovery after Australian train derailment

Miner BHP expects one-week recovery after Australian train derailment

A huge runaway train laden with iron ore had to be derailed remotely after speeding through the Australian outback for nearly an hour.

With no one at the controls, the 3km long runaway train travelled for nearly an hour, at speeds of up to 110km/h, before it crashed about 210km south of Port Headland.

BHP Billiton said it had suspended all its iron ore rail operations in Western Australia on Monday after the incident.

The train, operated by Melbourne-based minerals, oil and gas company BHP, had made a stop on its way to northwest Australia's Port Hedland.

According to Reuters, one of BHP's customers in China, a steel producer, has not yet received any notice from the miner.

"We will be liaising with our customers in relation to our contractual commitments over this period", a BHP spokeswoman said.

While the driver was outside of the locomotive, the train started off down the track.

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BHP's shares closed 0.48 percent lower to Aus$33.39 (US$24.18) in Sydney Wednesday as reports in Britain said the Anglo-Australian firm was facing a £5 billion (US$6.5 billion) lawsuit over the deadly Samarco dam failure in Brazil in 2015. While the driver was outside the train, it took off with no one on board.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said damage to the train was substantial and it is estimated about 1.5km of track was damaged.

It hurtled along the company's Newman to Port Hedland line in the remote Pilbara region for about 50 minutes until it was deliberately derailed at a set of points near Turner, about 120km south of the port town.

"We are working with the appropriate authorities to investigate the situation". BHP expects the recovery to take about a week.

On Wednesday, the company also said in a statement it can not speculate on the outcome of the investigation.

BHP will be questioned by the transport safety regulator.

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