BHP doesn’t have enough iron ore stockpiled at a West Australian port to cover its scheduled shipments after a fully laden runaway train was deliberately derailed, causing rail operations to be suspended.
The BHP-operated train took off early on Monday after the driver stepped out to inspect one of its 268 wagons.
The nearly 3km-long locomotive hurtled along the company’s Newman to Port Hedland line for about 50 minutes until it was deliberately derailed by remote control at a centre more than 1500km away in Perth.
Nobody was injured.
“We cannot 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 company said in a statement on Wednesday.
About 1.5km of track repairs will take about one week to partially complete and BHP says it will liaise with customers about its contractual commitments given the stockpile will not cover the entire period of disruption.
According to Reuters, one of BHP’s customers in China, a steel producer, has not yet received any notice from the miner.
“We have a long-term contract with BHP and we haven’t received a notification so far,” an official, who declined to be named, told the newswire.
BHP has not reported the matter to the Australian stock exchange as it is not expected to have a material impact on finances.
Analysts Reuters has spoken to say they expect BHP will claw back any shipment delays and the impact to operations will be insignificant.
The ATSB is investigating the incident and expects its report will be complete in the second quarter of 2019.
The National Rail Safety Regulator is also investigating.