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Runaway mining train travels 90 kilometres without driver

09 November 2018

BHP was forced to derail a loaded iron ore train on Monday morning after it travelled 92km without a driver.

MELBOURNE, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Mining giant BHP Billiton expects some interruption to its Australian iron ore exports after a almost 3-km-long train loaded with the commodity was forcibly derailed this week after running away en route to a key shipping hub.

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. Nobody was injured in the incident, which happened in a remote area.

A runaway train with no one inside which hurtled through the Western Australia Pilbara region reached speeds of more than 150km/h before it was deliberately derailed.

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BHP has told Bloomberg that it "estimated that about 1.5 kilometers of track has been damaged and anticipates the recovery process to take about one week".

The train travelled for 90 km by itself before being derailed near Turner, approximately 120km south of Port Hedland, leaving about 1.5km of track damaged.

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

Industry specialists were confused about why the train would have run away down the tracks.

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The company did not reported the matter to the Australian stock exchange as it is not expected to have a material impact on finances.

"We are working with the appropriate authorities to investigate the situation", BHP said in a statement to Reuters. "We can not speculate on the outcome of the investigation", BHP said.

However, the company now says it expects the reserves will not be sufficient to cover the period of disruption until partial rail operations can resume in "about one week".

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the National Rail Safety Regulator had been informed and was investigating.

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Runaway mining train travels 90 kilometres without driver