BHP blames heavy rains for autonomous trucks crash

Jimblebar is one of seven iron ore mines BHP operates in the Pilbara. (Image courtesy of AGC)

The world’s largest miner, BHP, (ASX, LON:BHP) has blamed a collision between two autonomous trucks at its Jimblebar iron ore mine in the Pilbara, Western Australia, on significant rainfall affecting the area over the weekend.

The two trucks, one unloaded and travelling at about 14kph and the other, loaded and travelling at 27kph, lost traction on March 16 on the haul road and collided at about 11pm, BHP told 6PR News talk.

It is understood that no one was working in the direct area of the collision at the time, and no one was injured during the incident. An investigation into the cause of the incident is under way.

The accident comes only a month after Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) revealed that one of its massive driverless trucks collided with another, also in Western Australia.

Jimblebar was the first mine in BHP’s Pilbara iron ore portfolio to move completely to driverless trucks. The operation had a fleet of about 50 autonomous trucks by the end of 2017.

This is not the first mishap affecting BHP’s autonomous fleet. In November, the company deliberately derailed a runaway train in the Pilbara after it had taken off without its driver when an emergency brake turned itself off.