Orica plans to build ammonium nitrate plant

Explosives giant, Orica, has plans to build a second ammonium nitrate plant in central Queensland to supplement its Gladstone operation.
Explosives giant, Orica, has plans to build a second ammonium nitrate plant in central Queensland to supplement its Gladstone operation. Brenda Strong

THE world's largest explosive manufacturing company has plans to build an ammonium nitrate plant to serve the Bowen Basin mining industry on rural land 14km east of Dingo.

Orica hopes to provide a facility to store and distribute the chemical compound and manufacture ammonium nitrate emulsion.

The proposal includes an 80-worker accommodation village and has been submitted to the Central Highlands Regional Council.

The 1434-hectare location - selected because it is close to the coast, the mining industry and west of major river systems - is set to complement the Gladstone facility.

An Orica spokesman said community consultations had been held to advise local residents and address issues.

"The site itself meets all of the required criteria in terms of appropriate buffers from population centres and access to transport," the spokesman said.

"The project will involve a number of elements to upgrade the Diamond Dee Rd and the siding from the Capricorn Hwy… to ensure appropriate management of truck movements during times of peak activity."

In late October, Orica was fined $432,000 after pleading guilty to environmental offences relating to the discharge of unsafe levels of cyanide into the Gladstone Harbour.

An Orica spokesman said the waste produced at the Dingo project would have no impact as the area is located about 1km from the nearest watercourse aside from a farm dam north-west of the site.

"The blending and storage processes proposed for the site produce no waste. Orica will use the first flush system to collect rainwater that falls on the site for use in the proposed facility," the spokesman said.

Water will be collected and tested to ensure all standards are met and the spokesman said the native vegetation would be retained to screen the project located about 1.4km south of the Capricorn Hwy.

Any impact on the environment and townships in close proximity will not be evident until construction commences, if approved, but an Orica spokesman said a "significant amount of work to conduct a thorough environmental assessment of the project" had taken place.

"Orica has submitted detailed vegetation, cultural, heritage, traffic, bushfire and other hazard assessments," the spokesman said.

Community members have until February 22 to issue comments.

Topics:  ammonium nitrate cyanide dingo explosives

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