Separate investigations into the train derailment are being conducted by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator and BHP. "The driver alighted from the locomotive to inspect an issue with an ore vehicle", the Australian Transport Safety Bureau stated.
The 268-wagon train started on its solo journey when the driver got down from his cab to carry out an inspection, and was soon hurtling along at up to 110 kilometres (68 miles) per hour.
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.
While no one was injured in the incident, BHP said in a statement on Wednesday the damaged was likely to cause significant delays for the mining company.
The ATSB is investigating the incident and expects its report will be complete in the second quarter of 2019.
"However, we are working with the appropriate authorities and our focus remains on the safe recovery of our operations".
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"Obviously it would have been very concerning for everyone involved - BHP and the workforce, and the people of Port Hedland - that a train was traveling down the track without a driver and obviously out of control", McGowan said. "There would have been a procedure in place to make sure the train didn't move off".
The BHP-operated train was deliberately derailed by remote control at the mining company's operational centre, more than 1500km away in Perth.
Analysts think iron ore prices could see a short-term bump as a result of this derailment, according to the news service.
There has been no disruption so far to shipments of BHP's medium-grade iron ore cargoes to top market China, traders said.
Despite the closure of its rail network, BHP's iron ore mines remain open and operating.
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