Global miner BHP Billiton BHP.AX BLT.L expects its operations in western Australia to take around a week to recover after a almost 3-km long train loaded with iron ore enroute to the coast for export was forcibly derailed on Monday.
BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's largest mining company, halted all train operations in Western Australia on Monday after it was forced to derail a runaway train in the Pilbara.
The driver had stopped at Hesta Siding to check a wagon, but the train - en route from Newman to Port Hedland - took off without him and careered 92 kilometres down the track before being derailed at Turner Siding.
BHP's rail operations in Western Australia have now been suspended.
According to Reuters, one of BHP's customers in China, a steel producer, has not yet received any notice from the miner. "We've got no reason why we have to change the contracts and agreements we have with existing customers", he said, following the company' annual general meeting in Adelaide. While the driver was outside the train, it took off with no one on board.
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.
In a statement, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said: 'The driver alighted from the locomotive to inspect an issue with a wagon.
The mining company also told The West Australian it is working with authorirites to investigate the situation.
BHP said that more than 130 people were... "We can not speculate on the outcome of the investigation", BHP said.
BHP confirms the suspension of normal train operations but all of its main mines remain operational.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator and BHP are investigating.