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Miner BHP expects one-week recovery after Australian train derailment

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Global miner BHP Billiton <BHP.AX> <BLT.L> expects its operations in western Australia to take around a week to recover after a nearly 3-km long train loaded with iron ore enroute to the coast for export was forcibly derailed on Monday.

The derailment came after the train ran away at high speed for nearly 100 kilometres (62 miles). Nobody was injured in the incident, which happened in a remote area.

“We are working with the appropriate authorities to investigate the situation … Recovery operations are underway,” BHP said in a statement on Wednesday.

The miner estimates that around 1.5 kilometres of train track has been damaged.

BHP will rely on its stockpile reserves at Port Headland to maintain operations at the export hub, it said, without commenting on any potential impact to shipments.

“Investors are keeping one eye on the developments in the Pilbara after BHP announced it had halted all rail operations,” ANZ bank said in a report.

“For the moment, it says it can continue exporting iron ore via its stockpiles at the port. However, any delays to the repairs could put this at risk.”

Australia’s Transport Safety Bureau said that a probe into the incident was underway on Monday. It is expected to release a report in the second quarter of 2019.

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Joseph Radford)

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