Global mining giant BHP Billiton halted port and rail operations at its massive west Australian iron ore deposit Thursday after a "significant incident" which claimed the life of a worker.
BHP said the fatal incident occurred in the early hours of the morning at its Port Hedland export docks on Australia's west coast.
"At this stage we are unable to provide any further detail about the incident, but will do so as soon as possible during the day," the miner said in a statement.
"The company's port and rail operations are in the process of being suspended until further notice."
Emergency services and the police were in attendance, it added.
BHP's Pilbara deposit, in the minerals-rich Kimberley region, underpins its global iron ore operations, with seven mines, more than 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) of rail and two separate port facilities.
It plans to pump Aus$7.4 billion (US$7.9 billion) into expanding its Pilbara iron ore operations to annual capacity of 220 million tonnes to meet surging demand for the key steelmaking ingredient from fast-growing China.