Regulation of security sensitive ammonium nitrate (SSAN) in Queensland

Explosives information bulletin no. 56 | 27 November 2017 | Version 4

Purpose

The purpose of this explosives information bulletin is to outline the regulation of Security Sensitive Ammonium Nitrate (SSAN) in Queensland.

Scope

This bulletin provides information to companies or persons who wish to import, export, manufacture, transport, store, sell/supply, use or dispose of SSAN in Queensland. It identifies the licence requirements and obligations for each of the licence types that are applicable to SSAN.

Background

SSAN is administered under the Explosives Act 1999 and is authorised administratively as an explosive, not of class 1, under the Act. SSAN retains its dangerous goods classification and is referred to as an explosive of class 5.1, class 9, or a non dangerous good in the case of calcium ammonium nitrate.

Controls for SSAN have been agreed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in Australia and in each state and territory. In Queensland, this is achieved by regulating these products under the Queensland Explosives Regulation 2017.

SSAN under the national guideline is defined as the following:

  1. Ammonium nitrate, ammonium nitrate emulsions, and ammonium nitrate mixtures containing greater than 45% ammonium nitrate (by mass), excluding solutions and ammonium nitrate products that are classified as class 1 explosives.
  2. Emulsions are precursors defined in schedule 7 of the Regulations as: precursor means a liquid mixture of water, ammonium nitrate and fuels, with or without other oxidizing agents, emulsifiers and other chemicals, that—
    1. is manufactured with a view to producing an explosive
    2. is not a class 1 explosive.
  3. Solutions – refers to aqueous mixtures where all the SSAN is dissolved in water, i.e. there are no visible solid particles in the SSAN/water mix.

Note: This includes substances such as calcium ammonium nitrate that are not classified as dangerous goods and dangerous goods with UN numbers 1942, 2067, 2071, 3375, and 3139 where applicable. SSAN meeting this definition but already included under Explosives of class 1 have been excluded from this definition as they are already regulated under the Explosives Act (e.g. ANFO).

In Queensland, ammonium nitrate emulsions are declared as an explosive under the Explosives Regulation 2017 and are treated as explosives of class 5.1, class 9, or a non-dangerous good. The Explosives Act (schedule 2) defines an explosive as including:

  1. a substance or a thing containing a substance, manufactured or used with a view to produce:
    1. a practical effect by explosive
    2. a pyrotechnic effect
  2. a substance or thing declared under a regulation to be an explosive.

Examples of explosives - Ammunition, detonators, gunpowder, nitro-glycerine, pyrotechnics (including fireworks).

In Queensland SSAN has been declared an explosive. SSAN grade ammonium nitrate is used predominantly in the explosives industry but also has agricultural, horticultural, industrial and laboratory applications. A licence is required to import, export, manufacture, transport, store, sell/supply, use or dispose of SSAN in Queensland. Explosives licence holders that currently use SSAN are required to comply with the provisions of the new regulations.

A new licence, licence to use SSAN explosives has been developed for non-conventional explosives activities in agriculture, industrial and laboratories including schools and other learning institutions. This bulletin provides details of the licences available, what activities are permitted with the licence and the obligations of persons holding a licence. Any person possessing SSAN must be authorised to possess the material and comply with the conditions of that licence.

Issues

National security sensitive ammonium nitrate controls

The controls apply to SSAN, which consists of ammonium nitrate (AN), ammonium nitrate emulsions and ammonium nitrate mixtures containing greater than 45% ammonium nitrate by mass.

Ammonium nitrate emulsions are technically not classified as SSAN in Queensland. They were formally declared an explosive under the Explosives Regulation 2017.

Ammonium nitrate solutions and ammonium nitrate products classified as class 1 explosives are excluded. Any products fitting within this definition will retain their existing United Nations classification where relevant, generally class 5.1 or class 9. The handling, storage and transport for these classes remain in accordance with the applicable standards and codes except where indicated in this bulletin.

The following requirements have been established in line with the national controls issued under Guidance Notes and incorporated into the following Explosives Information Bulletins:

  1. Explosives Information Bulletin 52 Transport of security sensitive ammonium nitrate (SSAN).
  2. Explosives Information Bulletin 53 Storage of security sensitive ammonium nitrate (SSAN).

Queensland regulatory framework

Authorities required to access SSAN

Authorities (e.g. licences and permits) are required for activities including import, manufacture, store, transport, sell, export, use or disposal of SSAN. A new licence, licence to use SSAN explosives has been introduced to meet the needs of agricultural, industrial and laboratory applications. It is an offence under the Explosives Act to carry out any of these activities without an appropriate licence. Further, it is an offence to be in possession of any SSAN without one of the above licences. An exception to this is for bona-fide laboratories including schools and other learning institutions where possession of a maximum amount of 3 kg is allowed without any licence.

Authorities, in Queensland, apply to licences and permits. Permits are available for import, export and storage for once-only activities of a non-commercial nature. The following licences include those with activities associated with SSAN:

  1. Licence to use SSAN explosives: This covers the commercial use of SSAN in the agriculture/ industrial/laboratory area when SSAN is not being used in a conventional explosive application and the amount is greater then 3 kg. This also covers the use of SSAN as an ingredient.
  2. Licence to export explosives: This covers the export of explosives, including SSAN, through a Queensland port to a foreign country for commercial purposes.
  3. Licence to import explosives: Import covers the importation of explosives, including SSAN, from a foreign country through a Queensland port for commercial purposes.
  4. Licence to manufacture explosives (factory): This covers the manufacture of blasting explosives, including SSAN, as an end product.
  5. Licence to manufacture explosives (use): This covers the manufacture of blasting explosives, including SSAN, at a site that could include the use of SSAN as an ingredient.
  6. Licence to manufacture explosives (vehicle): This covers the manufacture of blasting explosives on a vehicle, and includes the use of SSAN as an ingredient.
  7. Licence to sell explosives: This covers the sale of explosives including SSAN.
  8. Shotfirer licence: A licensed shotfirer is able to conduct shotfiring tasks using explosives including SSAN as an ingredient in the site manufacture of explosives.
  9. Licence to store explosives: The storage of explosives including SSAN at a location. A store licence is not required for less then 3 kg if used in research, laboratories, or educational institutions.
  10. Note : Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, SSAN (excluding emulsions) may require local planning permission and notification to the Department of Employment and Industrial Relations – Workplace Health and Safety Queensland. On mine sites regulations apply for the control of Major Hazard Facilities.
  11. Licence to transport explosives: This covers the transport of explosives, including SSAN, by road and rail. A licence to transport is not required for less than 20 kg; however there must be a legitimate need to possess SSAN.
  12. Licence to use explosives: This enables the holder to use explosives in accordance with the conditions of a licence and may include the use of SSAN as an explosive ingredient.

Current explosives licence holders (e.g. import, store, transport, manufacture, sell, export) may need to check to see whether there is a need to alter the licence to include SSAN. Persons with licences covering Use Explosives and Shotfirers licences being used for these purposes will not require an additional licence to access SSAN as those licences authorise them to purchase, store, transport and use under those licences.

Criteria for authorities to access SSAN

Persons, that is, either individual applicants or corporate directors, owners, and so on, will be required to satisfy the following criteria when applying for a licence to access SSAN:

  1. Undergo background security checking (see below) and must be an appropriate person.
  2. Be a minimum of 18 years of age.
  3. Demonstrate a legitimate need (not a desire) for SSAN (household and domestic use and the fertilisation of recreational facilities are not considered legitimate needs).
  4. Have provision for safe and secure storage and handling procedures.
  5. Satisfactorily complete the relevant application form(s).
  6. Provide verifiable proof of identity and, if a corporate entity (i.e. registered company, association, co-operative trading society or government agency), currency of the corporate entity and details of ownership of the corporate entity. For a registered company details to be provided include a certified current copy of the Certificate of Incorporation and an extract of the current listing of directors, part owners etc. as issued and registered with Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

Note: The current listing of directors, or part owners does not apply to a publicly listed company. For a co-operative trading society, association or club, details to be provided include a certified current copy of the certificate of incorporation of the society, association or club issued by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and a copy of the official documentation listing the current directors or office bearers or a copy of an extract of the annual return to OFT. For partnerships and trusts, appropriate supporting evidence of the partnership or trust agreement is to be provided. For a government agency details to be provided include a copy of the published gazetted name.

Background security checking

Background checks will be handled through the Inspectorate for licence holders. This background check includes a national police and Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) check. The ASIO check includes an assessment of the applicant in relation to politically motivated violence (PMV). Police checks will be reviewed every two years while the ASIO check will be only done once. Any adverse findings in the future will be advised to the Chief Inspector of Explosives. All checks are conducted with the approval of the applicants.

The checks will be carried out when the applicant is applying for a licence. Where the applicant is a corporate entity, the checks will be conducted on current owners or directors of registered company or office bearers of an association or club (this does not include publicly listed companies or government agencies) and the person nominated to be responsible for the security of the SSAN.

Persons requiring unsupervised access who are not licence holders can have background checks conducted through the Queensland Police Service. The Explosives Inspectorate will not carry out these background checks. These can be done individually or under the auspices of the company requiring those individuals to have unsupervised access. Additional guidance can be found in Explosives Information Bulletin 41 Persons appropriateness to access explosives.

Obligations on authority holders

Key obligations relating to the various licence holders are listed below. Persons should consult the Explosives Act and Regulations for more detailed information. Under the Explosives Regulations 2017 most licence holders must have a safety management system. For exemptions, consult section 46 of the Explosives Regulations 2017. Licence holders must also develop a security plan based on a risk assessment. These documents must be kept up to date and must be reviewed at regular intervals, or sooner if circumstances change.

  1. Use (SSAN)—not required for less than 3kg for bona-fide laboratories
    1. Licence to use SSAN explosives in a non-explosive application such as agriculture/industrial or research laboratory. The licence covers the purchase, transport, storage and use of SSAN. For agricultural purposes it allows the storage and transport of up to 5000kg without further justification or the need for a separate transport and storage licence. It also covers the activities for the licence holder on more then one site or location.
    2. Security plan, based on risk assessment (See security plan template in Explosives Information Bulletin 54) including:
      1. security of SSAN through purchase, transport, storage and use
      2. authorising persons with unsupervised access
      3. records of activity including purchase, storage, use or disposal.
    3. Transport in accordance with the ADG code.
    4. Location and details of storage facility.
    5. Report any loss, theft, attempted theft or unexplained discrepancy to the Explosives Inspectorate and the police.
  2. Export (overseas)
    1. Licence to export explosives covering SSAN
    2. Advance notification (7 days) of each export, including:
      1. product type and quantity
      2. point of departure and date
      3. destination
      4. confirmation that the shipment complies with import regulations in the receiving country.
    3. Records of all transactions.
    4. Agent responsible for delivery of product to point of departure.
    5. Report any loss, theft, attempted theft or unexplained discrepancy, or any incident to the Explosives Inspectorate and the police.
      Note : Notification of Export must be sent to the Chief Inspector of Explosives or Regional Office or Reserve or, using on line web form located at https://forms.business.gov.au/aba/landing.htm?formCode=SH-EXP-005-EEN
  3. Import (from overseas)
    1. Licence to import explosives covering SSAN.
    2. Notification in advance (7 days) of any incoming shipments, including:
      1. vessel identification
      2. quantity of SSAN to be imported
      3. point of arrival and date
      4. contact details of importer
      5. proposed storage location
      6. product identification and classification
      7. details of agent transporting product
      8. confirmation of dangerous goods classification, with a certificate of analysis for each batch being imported.
    3. Report any loss, theft, attempted theft or unexplained discrepancy, or any incident to the Explosives Inspectorate and the police.
      Note : Notifications must be sent to the Chief Inspector of Explosives using the on web form located at https://forms.business.gov.au/aba/landing.htm?formCode=SH-EXP-004-IEN. However, imports coming into Queensland from other states do not need to be advised to the Inspectorate, as the state where the import takes place will attend to the import requirements.
  4. Manufacture (factory, use and vehicle)
    1. Licence to Manufacture Explosives' covering SSAN
    2. Security plan, based on risk assessment, including:
      1. location and details of manufacturing facility
      2. details of the production process
      3. details of ingredients, products and quantities
      4. nominated responsible person for operation of security plan for SSAN and contact details.
    3. Details of the production process to be used.
    4. Recording and reconciliation procedures.
    5. Authorisation of persons having access to SSAN.
    6. Records confirming analysis and classification of products.
    7. Records of product recipients.
    8. Report any loss, theft, attempted theft or unexplained discrepancy, or any incident to the Explosives Inspectorate and the police.
  5. Sell
    1. Licence to sell explosives covering SSAN.
    2. Records of all transactions by name and UN number (purchasers, products, quantities).
    3. Only sell to authorised persons (authorisation to be sighted and bona fides of purchaser to be established and recorded – if any doubt do not proceed with sale and notify the Explosives Inspectorate and police).
    4. Conduct a sales validation with head office.
    5. Report any loss, theft, attempted theft or unexplained discrepancy, or any incident to the Explosives Inspectorate and the police.
  6. Shotfirer
    1. Licence to use explosives covering SSAN.
    2. Provide advance written notification (minimum 7 days or advice covering time periods) of shots to be fired to the Explosives Inspectorate Regional Office.
    3. Security plan, based on a risk assessment, including:
      1. security of explosive product through purchase, transport, store and use
      2. authorising shotfiring assistants
      3. records of activity including purchase, blasting records, disposal, storage and use.
    4. Transport in accordance with Part 9, Section 135 of the Explosives Regulation 2017, AEC (If the load is a mix of blasting high explosives and SSAN) and ADG Codes
    5. Location and details of storage facility
    6. Report any loss, theft, attempted theft or unexplained discrepancy, or any incident to the Explosives Inspectorate and the police.
  7. Store
    1. Licence to store covering SSAN
    2. Security plan, based on risk assessment, including:
      1. location and details of storage facility
      2. nominated responsible person for operation of security plan for SSAN and contact details
      3. authorisation of persons having access to SSAN
      4. recording of SSAN receipts, issues and stock on hand (products and quantities)
      5. record of product recipients or uses
      6. report any loss, theft, attempted theft or unexplained discrepancy, or any incident to the Explosives Inspectorate and the police.
    3. SSAN must be stored in a locked facility/container or be under constant surveillance.
    4. The storage facility must conform to the applicable Australian Standards and National or Industry Codes.
  8. Transport
    1. Licence to Transport covering SSAN (not mandatory for 20 kg or less).
    2. SSAN must be transported in a locked container or vessel or be under constant surveillance by an authorised person.
    3. Security plan, based on risk assessment, including:
      1. details of security provisions for the duration of the journey (locked or constant surveillance)
      2. authorisation of drivers and crew members
      3. nominated responsible person for operation of security plan for SSAN and contact details
      4. recording of transport activities including persons taking delivery and quantities.
    4. Transport in accordance with Explosives Regulations, AEC and ADG Code
    5. Report any loss, theft, attempted theft or unexplained discrepancy, or any incident to the Explosives Inspectorate and the police.
  9. Use
    1. Licence to use explosives covering SSAN. This covers explosives activities not covered by a shotfirer licence, fireworks operator licence or licence to use SSAN explosives. It may include the use of explosives in film/TV work, certain special effects, dog handling or training
    2. Provide advance written notification (minimum 7 days or advice covering time periods) of shots to be fired to the Explosives Inspectorate Regional Office.
    3. Security plan, based on a risk assessment, including:
      1. security of explosive product through purchase, transport, store and use
      2. authorising shotfiring assistants
      3. records of activity including purchase, blasting records, disposal, storage and use.
    4. Transport in accordance with part 9, section 135 of the Explosives Regulation 2017, AEC (if the load is a mix of high explosives and SSAN) and ADG Codes.
    5. Location and details of storage facility.
    6. Report any loss, theft, attempted theft or unexplained discrepancy, or any incident to the Explosives Inspectorate and the police.

Annex A includes a table that summarises the requirements and provides guidance on what each of the licences allows a holder to do. The table lists the licence types that are issued by the department and indicates the associated activities that may be conducted with the licence type.

The table should be read from left to right (e.g. the transport licence issued by the department enables the holder to possess, transport and dispose of SSAN) (Note 10 - non explosives means). The table also provides explanatory footnotes on the various licences and activities.

Conclusion

Application forms for the Security Assessment (Individual or corporate) and the licences listed in Annex A, are available on the Departmental Website. General enquiries on applications for any of the licences should be directed to the Explosives Licensing Officer at the telephone number of the nearest Regional Office, at the bottom of this page. Any further enquiries may be forwarded to this email address; explosives@dnrm.qld.gov.au

If SSAN is used in agriculture, horticulture, industry, research or laboratories in a manner that is not a conventional explosives use, a licence to use SSAN explosives will be required. Holding a licence to use explosives including SSAN became a legal requirement on the 29 October 2004.

References

  1. Explosives Act 1999 and Explosives Regulation 2017
  2. Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Document Principles for the Regulation of Ammonium Nitrate
  3. Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Regulation
  4. Declaration of SSAN as an Explosive 29 Oct 2004
  5. Explosives Information Bulletin 41 - Persons appropriateness to access explosives
  6. Australian Standard AS 4326 – The storage and handling of oxidizing agents
  7. Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail (7th Edition) (ADG7)
  8. Australian Code for the Transport of Explosives by Road and Rail (3rd Edition) (AEC3)
  9. Explosives Information Bulletin 53 Storage requirements for security sensitive ammonium nitrate (SSAN)

Annex A to EIB 56 Regulation OF SSAN in Queensland dated 21 September 2017 SSAN – Licence activities guide

Type of Licence Activities Covered by Licence1
Licence2 issued by the Department:

Select the licence in this column to see what activities are permitted.

Possess

May possess explosives under the Act.

Purchase3

Purchase to conduct licence activity.

Export

Permitted to export.

Import

Permitted to Import.

Sell

Sell SSAN in accordance with the Act.

Store

Store SSAN in accordance with Act.

Transport

Transport SSAN in accordance with Act.

Manufacture

Manufacture for an Explosive application

Use-Dispose

Use in a particular way. Dispose of spills.

Use – SSAN4 Yes Yes No No No Yes5 Yes6 No Yes7
Export Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No
Import Yes Yes No Yes No No No No No
Sell8 Yes Yes No No Yes No No No No
Store Yes Yes No No No Yes No No No9
Transport10 Yes No No No No No Yes No No10
Manufacture - place of use Yes Yes No No No Yes No Yes Yes10
Manufacture - Factory Yes Yes No No No Yes No Yes Yes10
Manufacturing Vehicle Yes Yes No No No No Yes11 Yes Yes12
Shotfirer Yes Yes No No No No13 Yes14 No15 Yes13
Use Explosives Yes Yes No No No No14 Yes15 No16 Yes13

Note: Activities designated with a footnote may allow the activity with exemptions or qualifications. If in doubt consult the Explosives Inspectorate.

1 Laboratories do not require a licence for less than 3kg.

2 Permits are used for a 'once only' activity that would not warrant the issue of a full licence. Permits are available for Storage, Export and Import.

3 Purchase where required to conduct licence activities.

4 Non-conventional explosives applications only – SSAN only.

5 The standard storage limit under this licence is 5000kg. Larger quantities can be applied for and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Safety and security considerations must be met.

6 The standard transport limit under this licence is 5000kg. Larger quantities can be applied for and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

7 Agricultural/ laboratory and industrial in non–conventional explosive applications. Disposal of spills to AS4326, manufacturer's instructions (SDS). EPA guidelines to be met.

8 A sell licence may cover multiple locations. A storage licence is also required for a location from whence SSAN is sold, and where the quantity exceeds 10kg.

9 This is for the disposal of spilled product only in accordance with AS 4326.

10 A licence to transport covering SSAN is not required for quantities less than 20 kg. Persons transporting under this quantity must have a licence that authorises possession.

11 Authorised products in MMU only.

12 Disposal may be by explosive method or AS 4326, manufacturers instructions (SDS). EPA guidelines to be met.

13 SSAN may be stored under this licence to the amounts in Schedule 4 of the Explosives Regulation 2017 with due regard to safety and security. A shotfirer may store up to 2000 kg if the requirements of IB53 are met.

14 Licence holders can transport up to 250kg NEQ of explosives. SSAN is to be counted at ½ NEQ when transporting with blasting explosives. Where SSAN is not carried with blasting explosives the quantity limited is based on vehicle capacity and compliance to the ADG Code, however not more than 1.2 tonnes.

15 Shotfirers can manufacture explosives (ANFO) from SSAN for immediate use.

16 Persons using SSAN in a conventional explosives application must demonstrate that they have the appropriate training and competencies in that application.



Authorised by the Chief Inspector of Explosives
Contact: explosives@dnrm.qld.gov.au

Issued by the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines


General: This information is a guide only. It is not to be taken as a statement of law and must not be construed to waive or modify any legal obligation.

Find more safety alerts and bulletins

Search the hazards database