WA iron ore industry suffers another train derailment

Image: Mineral Resources.

Mineral Resources (MinRes) has revealed that about 30 iron ore wagons travelling to its Koolyanobbing iron ore mine in the Yilgarn region of Western Australia have derailed.

It is the second train derailment in the state’s iron ore industry in the past week. A BHP train also derailed on November 5 while attempting to deliver iron ore from Newman to Port Hedland.

MinRes confirmed its locomotives and rolling stock were south of Norseman returning to the mine from the Esperance Port on Sunday morning when the train derailed at 7:30am.

The train had delivered 7488 tonnes of iron ore fines across 106 wagons to the port.

MinRes said in a statement that no one was injured as a result of the derailment. There is damage to some of the derailed wagons but not to MinRes’ locomotives.

The company believes heavy rainfall and flash flooding in the region on Saturday washed out some ballast from under a small section of the track, causing the incident.

Rail owner-operator Arc Infrastructure expects to complete repairs to the track this week. MinRes does not expect the derailment to have a “material impact” on its Koolyanobbing production and shipment schedule.

MinRes managing director Chris Ellison said most importantly, no one was injured.

“Initial investigations into this derailment suggest our safe train operating procedures were followed at all times, and that the derailment was caused by a section of the train track being washed out caused by Saturday’s heavy rainfall and flash flooding,” Ellison said.

“We are working with Arc Infrastructure to determine the timeframe for track repairs. As soon as we have confirmation that the track is repaired we will resume haulage of ore.”

MinRes, which acquired Koolyanobbing from Cleveland-Cliffs this year, delivered its first fully loaded train from the mine to the Esperance Port last week.

BHP last week deliberately derailed its iron ore train following a runaway incident where the locomotive took off while the driver had left the cabin to investigate an issue.

The BHP train travelled 92km in 50 minutes before being derailed at Turner’s Siding, 120km south of its destination. No-one was injured in the incident.