BLAST: Ammonium nitrate is an essential component of explosives used in mining.
BLAST: Ammonium nitrate is an essential component of explosives used in mining.

Beirut explosion warning for Qld mines, quarries

THE resource industry safety regulator has issued a warning to Queenslands mines and quarries on the risks of ammonium nitrate following the devastating Beirut blast.

The horrific explosion has sparked a review into security sensitive ammonium nitrate used in Queensland industries, such as mining.

On August 5, an explosion in a storage warehouse at the Port of Beirut in Lebanon killed more than 200 people and injured more than 6000.

The blast occurred shortly after a fire in the warehouse.

In a safety alert to industry, Resources Safety and Health Queensland said the main source of the blast was linked to an estimated 2750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored inappropriately in a warehouse for about seven years.

It noted ammonium nitrate was an essential component of explosives used in mining, quarrying, construction and other industrial purposes.

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In Queensland, the mining industry is the major consumer of the chemical.

The state consumes half of the national annual consumption of about 2.5 million tonnes, with the majority being manufactured locally.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is pictured as he holds a conference call with international leaders, including US President Donald Trump, to discuss civil upheaval in Beirut, Lebanon. Picture: Adam Taylor for PMO via NCA NewsWire
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is pictured as he holds a conference call with international leaders, including US President Donald Trump, to discuss civil upheaval in Beirut, Lebanon. Picture: Adam Taylor for PMO via NCA NewsWire

The alert said while the Queensland explosives industry had maintained a "sound record of compliance", the Explosives Inspectorate would conduct a review into security sensitive ammonium nitrate.

"In light of the tragic events occurring in Beirut, there is significantly heightened community concern and interest in the safety and security of SSAN and potential risks presented," it said.

"While the risk of an accident is considered extremely low due to current risk management frameworks, Queensland has experienced SSAN accidents including explosions of which the community is aware.

"Accordingly, the Explosives Inspectorate intends to conduct a review of the safety and security of the SSAN supply chain to ensure that risks have been properly assessed, are effectively managed and that the community can be assured of the required level of protection from risk."

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