The 4th August explosions in Beirut, which resulted in the death of 220 people, and 7,000 injuries was a global tragedy which shook the world – as prayers poured in for the people of Beirut, citizens of other countries couldn’t help but wonder about the status of ammonium nitrate stockpile in their country.
Ammonium nitrate has the chemical formula NH₄NO₃. Produced as small porous pellets, or “prills”, it’s one of the world’s most widely used fertilisers. It is also the main component in many types of mining explosives, where it’s mixed with fuel oil and detonated by an explosive charge.
The concerns also led for a BBC Investigation – and as per their report, in Australia, people in Newcastle, New South Wales have been asking for a large stockpile of ammonium nitrate in a warehouse 3km from the city centre to be moved or reduced even before tragic explosion in Beirut.
BBC has also said that ‘Orica, a company that supplies explosives to the mining industry, said it was being stored safely in areas that were “fire resistant and built exclusively from non-flammable materials”.
Similarly, South Australia’s workplace safety watchdog, SafeWork SA, said ammonium nitrate was being stored at 170 heavily regulated and monitored sites across the region.
It is also important to note that exact location of ammonium nitrate warehouse’s are kept a secret because it could be misused for terrorising activities.