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Ammonium nitrate

Ammonium nitrate can be used as fertilizer or as an explosive.

Ammonium nitrate sold for use as fertilizer is the same substance as ammonium nitrate sold as an explosive. In Australia, 95% of ammonium nitrate is used as an explosive in the mining industry and 5% as a fertilizer, mainly by horticulturalists.


Following events such as the bombings in Bali and Jakarta, Australia has taken additional steps to meet the threat of terrorism in Australia and abroad.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to a national review of the regulation, reporting and security for the storage, sale and handling of hazardous materials. The review resulted in a recommendation to regulate use of ammonium nitrate.

On 25 January 2006 legislation controlling access to substances containing more than 45% ammonium nitrate (SSAN) was gazetted.

Further information

Ammonium nitrate licence conditions

In South Australia, ammonium nitrate blends containing greater than 45% ammonium nitrate will require a licence if you are involved in any of the following activities:

  • import
  • export
  • manufacture
  • acquisition
  • storage
  • use
  • transport
  • disposal
  • supply

These ammonium nitrate blends are known as security sensitive ammonium nitrate (SSAN).

Liquid fertilisers will not be regulated, regardless of the amount of ammonium nitrate contained.

Licences will only be granted for use in or supply to mining and agriculture. Ammonium nitrate will no longer be available for use in the home or recreational facilities which includes parks, gardens, golf courses and bowling greens.

If you have a licence issued under the Explosives Act for SSAN, you will not need a separate licence under the Dangerous Substances Act, for example, for a driver or vehicle to transport dangerous goods in bulk.

If you intend to use SSAN to manufacture an explosive such as ANFO, a licence to mix and use ANFO will be required in addition to a licence for SSAN.

Further information

Security and storage

In order to get a licence you will need to develop a security plan which outlines how you will keep the SSAN secure.

Secure means that the SSAN needs to be under constant supervision or lock and key (similar to the level of security required to store other dangerous chemicals). The level of security needs to be such that you will be able to know if you have been broken into and how much SSAN has been taken.

As part of the licence application you must have two separate security checks.

Anyone working for you who has unsupervised access to SSAN will also need to undergo a security check and be listed on your security plan. Staff who have access to SSAN under your supervision or under someone listed on your security plan will not need to undergo a security check.

Further information

Application forms

To obtain a National Police Check (NPC) please visit the South Australia Police website. To obtain an ASIO Clearance we require a current NPC and a completed Authority to Access Person History Information form.

If you have any questions relating to making an application, please contact the Chemical Hazards and Explosive Materials Team on 8226 4885.

Application form:

Additional information:  ASIO security clearance: Authority to access person history information

Fees: $67

Duration: 3 years

Agricultural use

Explosives use




Mix & use

A licence is required to mix and use ammonium nitrate. Please see our manufacture of explosives page for further information.

National security

Anyone concerned about with the possible misuse of ammonium nitrate can immediately report any suspicious activity to the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400.