Runaway train set to derail miner's sales

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BHP deliberately derailed the train following a runaway incident where the train took off while the driver had left the cabin to investigate an issue.

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.

The train travelled 92km in 50 minutes before being derailed at Turner's Siding, 120km south of its destination.

"We will be liaising with our customers in relation to our contractual commitments over this period", a BHP spokeswoman said.
No-one was injured in the incident.

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

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.

BHP has not reported the matter to the Australian stock exchange as it is not expected to have a material impact on finances.

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There was no indication of what had caused the train to move without its driver.

After traveling about 55 miles, it was deliberately derailed by a company control center in Perth, according to ATSB.

The miner said its normal train operations remain suspended, estimating that around 1.5 km of train track were damaged.

BHP is planning to draw from its stockpiles at Port Hedland as it repairs its rail service, The West Australian reported.

There are more than 130 people working on the recovery, which is expected to increase as the track work ramps up. "We can not speculate on the outcome of the investigation", BHP said.

"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", a BHP spokeswoman said today.

BHP will be questioned by the transport safety regulator.

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