A 268-car freight train belonging to the Australian mining giant BHP Billiton loaded with iron ore was forcibly derailed after it traveled some 92 kilometers without a driver. The driver left his post to check up on one of the wagons, when suddenly the train took off without him and drove towards Port Hedland. Fortunately, no one was hurt when the train was forcibly stopped.
It remains unclear what caused the train to take off by itself, but the Australian Transport Safety Bureau has already sent two experts to look into the matter. At the same time, BHP Billiton, which is a major exporter of iron ore, was forced to halt its operations due to the incident.
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Depending on the extent of damage to the tracks, the repairs might take some time. According to the Financial Times, citing Edward Sterck, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets, the incident is likely to affect train loads and speeds, as well as the time for ore shipments. Considering the fact that iron ore brings in roughly 40% of the mining giant's profits, it could have a significant effect on BHP Billiton's gains.