Tanker carrying ammonium nitrate overturns near Hibbing

12:11 PM, Aug 17, 2013   |    comments
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HIBBING, Minn. - A tanker truck carrying about 40,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate overturned near Hibbing on Friday morning, according to St. Louis County Emergency officials and a northeast Minnesota mining company.

About five gallons of diesel fuel spilled when the tractor tipped, but the ammonium nitrate did not spill, officials said.

The accident happened around 8:15 a.m. at the entrance to the Cliffs Natural Resources Incorporated Hibtac Mine on Highway 5. The nearest home to the overturned truck was 1.3 miles away. 

Marcus Bruning with St. Louis County Emergency Management tells KARE 11 that there was no report of any fire following incident and no evacuation orders were issued.

Bruning says some roads were closed in the surrounding area, but the scene was cleared at about 2 p.m.

Sandy Karnowski, a spokesperson for the mine, says the tanker contained 40,000 gallons of ammonium nitrate, which is used in explosions.

Ammonium nitrate is a white crystalline solid at room temperature and standard pressure. It is commonly used in agriculture as a high-nitrogen fertilizer, and it has also been used as an oxidizing agent in explosives.

It is the main component of ANFO, a popular explosive, which accounts for 80 percent explosives used in North America. It is also used in instant cold packs, as hydrating the salt is an endothermic process.

Karnowski says operations at the mine continued as normal despite the road closures.

The driver of the truck has minor injuries, according to Bruning.

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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