Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
Economy | By

Mining giant’s train runs 90 kilometers without driver

Mining giant’s train runs 90 kilometers without driver

Australia's Transport Safety Bureau said that a probe into the incident was underway on Monday.

About 4.40am, the driver stopped to check one of the cars, but before he could get back on board the train took off on its own, leaving him behind, Perth Now reported.

Former train workers told 9NEWS if the driver left the train idling with the brake on, it's likely gravity caused the train to move, particularly because the tracks are on steep terrain.

"There was no hesitation in derailing that train because it posed a safety risk down the track", Port Hedland Mayor Camillo Blanco said.

In a statement, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said: 'The driver alighted from the locomotive to inspect an issue with a wagon.

BHP does not believe its stockpiles of iron ore at Port Hedland, in Western Australia's Pilbara region, will be sufficient to meets its contracts with customers following the deliberate derailment of an out-of-control train.

"We can not speculate on the outcome of the investigation, however we are working with the appropriate authorities and our focus remains on the safe recovery of our operations", the BHP spokeswoman said. The ATSB has launched an investigation into Monday's incident.

BHP's rail operations in Western Australia have now been suspended.

The BHP-operated train was deliberately derailed by remote control at the mining company's operational centre, more than 1500km away in Perth.

The company earlier this week warned its stockpiles of iron ore - a key steelmaking ingredient - were insufficient to cover the anticipated period of disruption, and BHP would need to liaise with its customers on its contractual commitments.

Despite the closure of its rail network, BHP's iron ore mines remain open and operating.

The Rio Tinto company says it completed its first delivery of iron ore using an autonomous train in July.

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