BHP keeps Western Australia iron ore rail operations on track

BHP says its Rail Operations team in Western Australia is finding new ways to safely navigate the challenges posed by the COVID-19 virus, with several of its train drivers based in other states of Australia and overseas relocating to support their counterparts in WA.

Most of BHP’s rail operations team already live in Western Australia, according to the company, but a number regularly commute from interstate or overseas for their scheduled rosters, BHP said.

To help cover those roles, some of these drivers have opted to stay in the Pilbara for their next shift, while others have temporarily relocated to Western Australia and are currently in 14 days of self-isolation before they return to site, the company said.

Media reports say BHP has relocated some 300 people from the eastern states of Australia to Western Australia to comply with cross-border restrictions or quarantine requirements in the country. This follows a ban on fly-in-fly-out workers from New South Wales entering Western Australia.

BHP’s majority-owned Western Australia Iron Ore operation is an integrated system of four processing hubs and five mines connected by more than 1,000 km of rail infrastructure and port facilities in the Pilbara region of northern Western Australia.

Other rail operations staff, including supervisors, coordinators, trainers and many other team members, are picking up jobs they wouldn’t normally do to keep BHP trains operational over the next few months, the miner said.

“With the current challenge in front of us, the team are doing whatever it takes to help each other out and keep our trains moving,” Rail Operations Manager, Steve Campbell, said. “It has meant working differently, making it possible to deliver today, what would have been seen as impossible only a short time ago.

“The rail drivers here at BHP are some of the best in the world. They are proud of what they do and who they represent.

“I am so proud of the entire rail team who have all been up to the challenge, keeping our trains moving, helping to keep the country moving – to me, that’s big!”