belonging to locally listed freight firm Aurizon Ltd, was
carrying about 819,000 litres (216,360 gallons) of sulphuric
acid, four times the amount first estimated, when it derailed in
Queensland state on Sunday.
"One of the carriages has likely ruptured and it is possible
that up to 31,500 litres of acid has leaked out," Queensland
Police said in a statement.
Testing by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection
suggested that a nearby waterway had not been adversely affected
by any leak, the statement said.
Aurizon said in an email to Reuters the cause of the incident
was not yet known. Three train drivers had received minor
injuries but had been released from hospital, it said.
A derailment and chemical spill adds to pressure on the haulage
company after a downturn in coal shipping volumes forced it to
issue a profit warning last week, sending its shares sharply
It would also disrupt mining companies already slashing
production volumes to cope with weak commodity prices. Miners
use sulphuric acid to separate and clean some minerals.
The train was traveling from the east coast port city of
Townsville to Phosphate Hill, 1,000 km (620 miles) inland,
The police statement did not give a cause for the derailment but
said the area had experienced flooding, causing a nearby highway
to be cut off.
Police said they had formed a 2-km (1.2-mile) exclusion zone
around the crash site to help salvage crews gain access.
(Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Paul Tait)
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