Terror threat prompts explosives factory review

Australia’s newly elevated national security alert level has prompted Orica Yarwun to undertake a review of security and safety procedures.

The ammonium nitrate plant near Gladstone manufactures explosives used around the country in the mining industry.

An Orica spokesperson said security measures at the Yarwun plant had been reviewed as a result of the announcement by Australian Government which raised the national terrorism threat alert from medium to high.

“Orica will work closely with all relevant authorities to ensure safety and security of the Orica supply chain,” the spokesperson said.

“Orica places the highest priority on ensuring safety and security.”

“Security arrangements have been reviewed to ensure they are consistent with the elevated threat level.”

Actions taken by Orica to ensure the ongoing security of its sites and products include communication to personnel around the increased threat level within Australia.

Orica has reinforced the importance of certified auditable record keeping for products at its operations as well as continued management of employee security clearances through a controlled database.

Explosives products, including Ammonium Nitrate, are only provided by Orica to those who have current valid and relevant licences and appropriate security clearances in place. 

A Department of Natural Resources and Mines spokesperson said the alert included mine sites, manufacturers of explosives including ammonium nitrate, and other licensed operators that store, transport or use explosive materials.

“Security risk assessments and security plans are required of all these licensed operators and these plans are regularly reviewed,” the spokesperson said.

Last month ammonium nitrate trucked from the Orica Yarwun plant to South Australia caused an explosion near Charleville, which injured eight people and destroyed a section of highway and a rail bridge.

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