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About: Kooragang Island, that is located at Newcastle, in New South Wales, at the entrance to the Hunter Valley, is an integral part of Orica's world wide operations in that it is here where the company bases a product dispatch facility, two ammonium nitrate plants, three nitric acid plants and an ammonia plant. The Orica Kooragang Island operations employ 210 permanent personnel and up to 40 regular contractors. During plant maintenance periods this worforce expands by a further 150 people.

The Kooragang Island Plant Produces Ammonia From Methane Natural gas

The Kooragang Island ammonia plant produces around 360,000 tonnes of ammonia a year from methane natural gas. This ammonia is used by Orica to produce ammonium nitrate and nitric acid which is sold to the refrigeration and agricultural industry.

Kooragang Island Nitric Acid Plants turn Ammonia Into Nitric Acid

The three nitric acid plants convert ammonia into nitric acid at the rate of 330,000 tonnes a year and the ammonium nitrate plants produce around 400,000 tonnes of industrial grade ammonium nitrate annually for use in the mining and quarrying industries as explosive products.

The Kooragang Island plants produce ammonia nitrate by causing a chemical reaction to occur between nitric acid and ammonia. Liquid and solid ammonium nitrate products are manufactured at the Kooragang Island plants.

Kooragang Island Markets Ammonium Nitrate in Solution or Solid State

Mining companies purchase ammonium nitrate from Orica in solution, or in two solid forms. The solid forms are known as being either prill or granulated. Manufacturing of the prill product requires the mixing of vapourised ammonia and nitric acid in a neutraliser. This results in an 83 percent ammonium nitrate solution. The strength of the solution is increased by evaporation with the more concentrated solution then sprayed into what is called a 'prill tower' where it forms itself into solid balls of ammonium nitrate of between one and three millimeters in diameter. This resulting product is known as 'prill.' The prill is blow dried with hot air and cooled off inside rotating drums after which it is screened and coated to improve its storage quality.

The granulated Opal, Orica's other ammonium nitrate product, is manufactured in a different plant. In this plant the nitric acid and vapourised ammonia is mixed in a pipe reactor in order to produce a solution. Some of this solution is sent offsite to be used in the making of medical gas, or explosive emulsions. What is retained is put through an evaporator to give the ammonium nitrate a higher concentration. The highly concentrated solution is then sprayed into a fluidised drum granulator which forms small balls of solid ammonium nitrate. The product is then screened to a four millimetre size before the granules are coated to improve their storage capability as was done with the prill product. Oversize and undersize granules are returned to tbe crushed and then once again put through the granulator. Solid ammonium nitrate ready for marketing is stored in bulk in air conditioned storage. From here it is either bagged or dispatched in bulk. The bagging facility places the product into bags that hold more than one tonne.


Orica is the largest provider of commercial explosives and blasting systems to the mining and infrastructure markets and also supplies general chemicals across a diverse range of markets, including agriculture, building and construction and water treatment industries.Kooragang Island, that is...........read more


East Melbourne, VIC 3002

GPO Box 4311
Melbourne, VIC 3001



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