Ammonium nitrate and explosives

Ammonium nitrate is commonly used as a fertiliser in agriculture and as the main component in an explosive often used in the mining industry in Western Australia. This explosive precursor is sought by terrorists and criminals.

Ammonium nitrate fuel oil (ANFO) explosives are manufactured easily by combining the correct proportions of explosively reactive substances. Commercial explosives are commonly available in the mining and farming industries in Western Australia and could be diverted for terrorist and criminal purposes.

The regulation of what is generally termed as Security-Sensitive Ammonium Nitrate was considered by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on 25 June 2004 and similar licensing regimes were implemented by states and territories.

In Western Australia the Dangerous Goods Safety Act 2004 is supported by the Dangerous Goods Safety (Storage and Handling Non-Explosives) Regulations 2007 for ammonium nitrate safety requirements and the Dangerous Goods Safety (Security Risk Substances) Regulations 2007 for ammonium nitrate security requirements.

Comparable security arrangements apply for explosives generally under the Dangerous Goods Safety (Explosives) Regulations 2007.

These regulations are enforced by the Western Australia Department of Mines and Petroleum, and breaches may result in licence suspension, prosecution or directions to cease operations and undertake remedial action. Further information about the regulation of ammonium nitrate can be found on the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website .

Criminal or terrorist use of ammonium nitrate and explosives is investigated by Western Australia Police.

To report any suspicious activity or security concerns contact the WA Police Force on 131 444 or the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400.