Sunday 25th Aug, 2019

Parliament disclosure reveals BHP derailment clean-up task

Photo: BHP

WA’s environment minister has told Parliament up to 16,000 litres of diesel and 30,000 tonnes of iron ore were spilt during the intentional derailment of a runaway train by BHP last month.

BHP’s Perth control centre chose to derail a fully-loaded iron ore train 119 kilometres from Port Hedland, after it travelled uncontrolled for roughly an hour on November 9, having rolled away from its driver.

State environment minister Stephen Dawson on Thursday was asked 12 questions about the derailment by Greens member Robin Chapple, who represents the Mining and Pastoral region, which includes the Pilbara.

In his response, Dawson outlined the advice provided by BHP to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation under the Environmental Protection Act of 1986.

He said between 10,000 to 16,000 litres of hydrocarbon (i.e. diesel) was released, and “no one was in attendance at the time of the derailment and no immediate containment was undertaken”.

“Diesel-affected soil was excavated and placed into bunded areas that were lined with heavy duty plastic,” Dawson continued. “Further remediation has not yet commenced.”

BHP also detailed to the state that the destroyed rollingstock at the site would be cut up on scene and removed by truck for recycling.

In addition, “approximately 30,000 tonnes of iron ore was spilt [and] BHP advised that it will be disposed of to a licensed landfill”.