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27 August 2006
Kramer, Deborah. Explosives; Minerals Yearbook, Volume 1 Metals and Minerals, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, 2004
In 2004, U.S. explosives production was 2.52 million metric tons (Mt), a 10% increase from that in 2003; sales of explosives were reported in all States. Coal mining, with 67% of total consumption, continued to be the dominant use for explosives in the United States. Wyoming, West Virginia, and Kentucky, in descending order, led the Nation in coal production, accounting for 59% of the total. These States also were the leading explosives-consuming States.
Sales of ammonium-nitrate-base explosives (blasting agents and oxidizers) were 2.48 Mt, which was a 10% increase from those of 2003, and accounted for 98% of U.S. industrial explosives sales. Sales of permissibles decreased by 9%, and sales of other high explosives increased by 17%.
Companies contributing data to this report, including those that are not members of the Institute of Makers of Explosives (IME), are as follows:
Accurate Energetic Systems LLC
Apache Nitrogen Products Inc.
Austin Powder Co.
Baker Atlas International
D.C. Guelich Explosives Co.
Douglas Explosives Inc.
Dyno Nobel Inc.
Ensign-Bickford Co., The
General Dynamics Armament Systems
Jet Research Center
Mining Services International Corp.
Nelson Brothers LLC
Orica USA Inc.
Owen Oil Tools Inc.
St. Lawrence Explosives Corp.
Schlumberger Perforating Center
Senex Explosives Inc.
Vets Explosives Inc.
Viking Explosives and Supply Co.
W.A. Murphy Inc.
In July, Dyno Nobel Inc. (a subsidiary of Dyno Nobel ASA) sold its 50% ownership in Geneva Nitrogen LLC to Austin Nitrogen LLC (a unit of Austin Powder Co.). The sale was required of Dyno Nobel by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) as a condition of its purchase of the nitrogen assets of El Paso Corp. in 2003. The DOJ was concerned that explosives-grade ammonium nitrate customers in the Western United States would face higher prices unless Dyno Nobel sold some of its assets. The Geneva Nitrogen plant, which was owned by Dyno Nobel before its purchase of El Paso, had the capacity to produce 100,000 metric tons per year (t/yr) of explosives-grade ammonium nitrate (Green Markets, 2004b).
Classification of Industrial Explosives and Blasting Agents.Apparent consumption of commercial explosives used for industrial purposes in this report is defined as sales as reported to the IME. Commercial explosives imported for industrial uses were included in sales.
The principal distinction between high explosives and blasting agents is their sensitivity to initiation. High explosives are cap sensitive, whereas blasting agents are not. Black powder sales were minor and were last reported in 1971. The production classifications used in this report are those adopted by the IME.
High Explosives.Permissibles.The Mine Safety and Health Administration approved grades by brand name as established by National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health testing.
Other High Explosives.These include all high explosives except permissibles.
Blasting Agents and Oxidizers.These include ammonium nitrate-fuel oil (ANFO) mixtures, regardless of density; slurries, water gels, or emulsions; ANFO blends containing slurries, water gels, or emulsions; and ammonium nitrate in prilled, grained, or liquor (water solution) form. Bulk and packaged forms of these materials are contained in this category. In 2004, about 92% of the total blasting agents and oxidizers was in bulk form.
Current Research and Technology
Specialty Fertilizer Products LLC, based in Belton, MO, filed for U.S. and international patents for a water-soluble polymer coating for ammonium nitrate fertilizer granules that repels fuel oil. The coating forms a thin film that dissolves rapidly in soil, so it would not interfere with ammonium nitrates main function as a fertilizer. This coating could make fertilizer-grade ammonium nitrate more difficult to use as an explosive (Green Markets, 2004a).
Researchers at the Danish company Aresa Biodetection ApS produced a genetically modified plant that may help detect hidden landmines by changing its color from green to red when its roots come in contact with explosives. The discovery is based on genetic engineering of the plant thale cress, scientifically known as Arabidopsis thaliana. The genetically modified plant changes its color from green to red within 3 to 5 weeks of growth when its roots come in contact with nitrogen dioxide, a chemical group present in explosives. Another potential application would be the detection and removal of heavy metals in polluted soil. Initial testing of the plants ability to detect unexploded landmines was scheduled to take place in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sri Lanka, and parts of Africa (ABC News online, 2004§).
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded Spire Corp. a $750,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research Program contract to develop a terahertz radiation system. The small and portable system, which will contain Spires quantum cascade lasers, could enable detection of hidden explosives. Because it can penetrate most container materials, terahertz radiation is well suited to detecting hidden weapons and explosives. Spire will collaborate with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on the design of the quantum cascade lasers (Compound Semiconductor.net, 2004§).
System Planning Corp. began testing smart containers for freight shipments to the United States. Smart containers are equipped with sensors attached to their interiors by magnets or tape. The sensors in the System Planning test will detect chemical, biological, and nuclear material. The sensors then will relay data through wireless technology to handheld and fixed readers and via satellite to a command and control center. The smart containers will be tracked along maritime trade routes to the Port of Tacoma, WA, and to the Port of New York, NY, and New Jersey as part of the test. Some of the smart containers will also be driven by tractor-trailer from New York and New Jersey to a tiny island in Maine that is being made a test bed for homeland security technologies. The containers will be under constant surveillance on sea and land (Baard, 2004§).
Scientists at Texas Tech University made a nanocomposite of aluminum and iron oxide (Fe2O3) that reacts exothermically when ignited. The material could have applications in explosives or as an energy source in micro-electro-mechanical systems devices or in space. The researchers made a honeycomb-like alumina template by electrochemical anodization of an aluminum foil in an acid. They were able to tailor the diameter of the templates pores by altering the voltage and the acid used, producing pores between 10 and 150 nanometers (nm). The team then electrodeposited iron inside the template pores, which they later oxidized to make Fe2O3 nanowires. After various additional steps, the researchers added a 50-nm layer of aluminum on top of the nanowires, forming a structure in which the nanowires were partially embedded in the aluminum layer. Igniting samples of the nanocomposite caused them to burn with a flame temperature of around 4,000° C. The scientists estimated that the energy released was about 1,000 times greater than the amount released by a purely surface reaction. The researchers planned to study the reaction mechanism, thermodynamics, and kinetics of the ignition process (Kalaugher, 2004§)
325920 (Explosives Manufacturing)
Historically, the explosives industry has been closely aligned with the coal mining industry. According to The Institute of Makers of Explosives (IME) the coal industry consumed 67 percent of explosives manufactured in the United States in the late 1990s and remained the largest application for explosives use in the United States. Historically, explosives such as black powder have been used in the United States to mine for minerals, break rock, clear fields, and build roads. After Alfred Nobel invented dynamite and the blasting cap required to make it explode, he licensed his discoveries in the United States. Mines could now be dug deeper and more quickly with dynamite, thereby making mining more profitable.
By 1905, E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company, one of the largest U.S. explosives companies, supplied 56 percent of the production of explosives in the United States. DuPont continued to strengthen its hold on the market; by 1907 the U.S. government had begun antitrust proceedings against the company. In 1912 DuPont was forced to divest segments of its business, which resulted in Atlas Chemical Industries and the Hercules Powder Company. Later, Atlas was purchased by Imperial Chemical Industries PLC, DuPont's explosives division was sold to Explosives Technologies International, and Hercules' explosives division was sold to Dyno Nobel, Inc.
In the early years of the industry, the volatile nature of explosives played a significant role in the organization of explosives manufacturers. Companies operated numerous small plants to ensure that their entire business would not be wiped out in the event of an explosion. In addition, plants were located near the consumer rather than the raw materials sources because of the danger in transporting the product.
Products of the explosives industry have changed dramatically over the years. ANFO, or ammonium nitrate mixed with fuel oil, was invented in 1953. Since 1959, it has become the most widely utilized explosive in surface coal mining. By the early 1990s, ANFO held 75 percent of the market. Thus, dynamite declined in importance from about one billion pounds in the mid-1950s to approximately 100 million pounds in 1993. Because of the drastic decline in the use of dynamite, manufacturing plants for that product decreased from 30 in the 1950s to just one, which was owned by Dyno Nobel, in 1993. In place of dynamite, emulsions gained popularity in the 1990s because of their water resistance and low density.
In the late 1990s, 101 establishments were in operation in the explosives manufacturing industry. Roughly 3 million metric tons of explosives were produced in the United States. The coal industry continued to be the largest domestic user, accounting for 67 percent of total explosives consumption. The rest of the explosives production was distributed among quarrying and nonmetal mining industries (14 percent), the metal mining industry (9 percent), construction industries (7 percent), and miscellaneous uses (3 percent). Ammonium nitrate-based explosives accounted for 99 percent of production, or 2.86 metric tons.
The value of explosives industry shipments declined from $1.44 billion in 1997 to $1.24 billion in 1998 and to $1.01 billion in 1999, before rebounding slightly in 2000 to $1.13 billion. Over this time period, coal mining, the largest domestic user of explosives, showed its greatest growth in the West. Western surface mines contained less overburden rock and thus required fewer explosives to reach the coal. That trend may be offset by changes in weather patterns, which would result in a greater demand for coal, which could also have a substantial impact on coal demand and, thus, impact the consumption of explosives in the early 2000s.
As a result of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York City and the 1995 bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, there was a push at the federal level to require that all explosives and potential explosive components such as fertilizer be manufactured with taggants -- color-coded, multilayered particles. These particles bear a unique signature and can be seen under a microscope, enabling identification of the manufacturer's batch lot by an explosives expert. In 1996, Congress enacted anti-terrorism legislation, which mandated the study of the feasibility of placing identification taggants in explosives. This study was the responsibility of the Department of the Treasury's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and was contracted out to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to conduct a third-party examination. The NAS report was completed and issued in March 1998 and concluded that it was not appropriate to require commercial explosives to contain identification taggants considering the level of threat in the late 1990s. The ATF also issued an interim report in March 1998 that stated that any effort intended to have a measurable impact on the prevention and investigation of bombing incidents had to be an integrated one. In October 1999 the IME's recommendation was that it was not in the best interests of the industry, the public, the environment, or law enforcement to mandate taggants in commercial explosives. It also seemed likely that the explosives manufacturers would not welcome any further action on the part of Congress.
The total number of industry employees declined from nearly 9,000 in 1997 to roughly 8,000 in 2000. Total payroll costs declined from $312 million to $301 million over the same time period. The industry's 5,398 production workers earned an average hourly wage of $15.97 in 2000.
Be Aware for America; The Fertilizer Institute, 1999. Available from http://www.tfi.org/beware.htm [Link now dead; copy below].
The Debate About Invisible Detectives; U.S. News and World Report, 16 September 1996.
Explosives Manufacturing; U.S. Census Bureau, 1997 Economic Census, Manufacturing, Industry Series, August 1999.
Kramer, Deborah. Explosives; Minerals Yearbook, Volume 1 Metals and Minerals, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, 1998. Available from http://minerals.usgsgov/minerals/pubs/commodity/explosives/index.html.
Product Liability Could Be the Real Issue With Taggants; Chemical ?x0026; Engineering News, 26 August 1996.
Robinson, Kevin. Devices Detect Explosive Residue; Phonics Spectra, July 1998.
Taggants Become an Issue; Coal Age, December 1996.
Taggants in Explosives; Institute of Makers of Explosives, October 1999.
Tagged Out; Science News, 14 September 1996.
United States Census Bureau. Statistics for Industries and Industry Groups: 2000; Annual Survey of Manufacturers. February 2002. Available from http://www.census.gov.
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Be Aware for America
Ever since the terrorist bombing in Oklahoma City, the issue of using ammonium nitrate fertilizer for criminal pursuits has become front page news.
Naturally, all of us in the fertilizer industry are concerned about the international, criminal misuse of our products. We also believe we can play a role in preventing such abuse in the future. So, we're joining forces with law enforcement to help protect against our products falling into the hands of bad people. Here are a few steps you can take to help make the effort a success.
Awareness and Action, Our Most Effective Blend.
The first step to take is protect your product. Make your own place of business a secure site for storage and distribution of fertilizer products. Be aware of how much product you have on hand. Have your warehouse, storage yards and loading docks secure. Make sure your employees know they're to keep an eye out for theft or misreporting of fertilizer product shipments.
Now for step two - know your customers.
Make the Right Call.
Nobody knows the farmers in your area like you do. You know their farms, their soil, their crops and their product needs.
You can use this knowledge to help protect against the criminal misuse of fertilizer and agricultural chemicals. In your conversation with your customers you may be able to tell if something's not quite right with someone's request to purchase ammonium nitrate - be it the quantity they ask for; their resistance to consider another product you might recommend; or their impatient, nervous, agitated mannger.
If the customer doesn't seem quite right, wait until the person has left your store. Jot down their license plate number and an accurate description of the person and the vehicle. Then call the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) at the toll-free number. Don't doubt your instincts or second guess yourself. If a customer gave you pause, in even a small way, call the number. ATF and local law enforcement agencies will conduct a discreet investigation right away. Any information you give will remain confidential, including your name and your place of business. Your swift action just might protect lives, property and our individual freedom.
BECAUSE YOU CARE, STAY
Look for these signs that something may be amiss:
If someone seems out of place, jot down some notes on a piece of paper:
Then make the call. 1-800-800-3855. Be aware for America.
To order this brochure and/or the accompanying video and poster, contact Valerie Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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