Rio Tinto autonomous train derails in Western Australia

Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) said on Tuesday that an unloaded autonomous train derailed on Sunday evening at about 120 km from Western Australia’s […]
Rio Tinto operates about 14,000 ore cars across its Pilbara rail network. Credit:Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) said on Tuesday that an unloaded autonomous train derailed on Sunday evening at about 120 km from Western Australia's Dampier port.

The world’s largest iron ore miner said no one was injured in the accident, which involved about 38 wagons of the self-driving iron ore train. 

It noted the derailment happened on a dual track section, which means that trains can continue to operate in the area, limiting disruption. 

"An investigation has begun, and the appropriate regulators have been notified. Work to recover derailed wagons has also commenced," a Rio Tinto spokesperson said in an email.

A similar incident occurred with an autonomous Rio Tinto train in June last year, when as many as 30 wagons left the tracks about 20km from Dampier.

Rio Tinto’s peers, BHP (ASX: BHP) and Fortescue (ASX: FMG) have also reported derailments at their iron ore operations in recent months.

The most infamous Pilbara train derailment took place in 2018 when BHP was forced to deliberately push a runaway train off its track. The machine was almost 3km long with its four locomotives and 268 wagons fully laden and, at one point, reached average speeds of about 110km/h on the track between Newman and Port Hedland.

Rio Tinto ships iron ore from Dampier port and through Cape Lambert in the northern part of Western Australia. 

The company operates about 14,000 ore cars across its Pilbara rail network, each of which can hold an estimated 118 tonnes of iron ore.

THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MINING.COM

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