SYDNEY (Reuters) – Some Australian residents of the city of Newcastle, 163 km (101 miles) north of Sydney, have called for a large ammonium nitrate plant, stockpiling up to four times the amount reportedly detonated in Lebanon, to be relocated.
Lebanese authorities have blamed a huge stockpile of the highly explosive material stored for years in unsafe conditions at Beirut’s port for Tuesday’s explosion, which killed at least 145 people and injured more than 5,000.
It is estimated about 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate were involved in the explosion.
By comparison, Australia’s Orica stores between 6,000 to 12,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate (AN), on average, at its Kooragang Island plant in the port of Newcastle, the company said in a statement.
The stockpile has led resident groups to campaign for the plant to be relocated, according to several local media reports.