Ammonium nitrate based fertilisers have been successfully used for more than a century. Amongst the range of nitrogen fertilizers available, ammonium nitrate has been very popular in many parts of the world. It contains fast-acting nitrate and slower-release ammonium, which makes ammonium nitrate effective under various climatic conditions. It is considered to be agronomically more efficient and less damaging to the environment than urea. As regards safety, ammonium nitrate possesses hazardous properties which, when not handled properly, have caused major accidents with loss of life and damage to property.
These risks are well understood and safety measures have been available to control them. Managers and engineers in the industry and other stakeholders continue to face various challenges to promote safety throughout the distribution chain. These issues will be described with examples. Environmental challenges related to the production and use of ammonium nitrate will also be discussed.