Senegalese authorities are removing about 3,050 tons of ammonium nitrate from the port of Dakar.
The amount is said to be a larger volume of the chemical that was involved in the August 4 explosion in Beirut.
According to a Senegalese environment ministry official, Baba Drame, trucks are moving the hazardous substance to mines in neighboring Mali.
Mali had taken 700 tons of the chemicals as of August 23, which will be stored at the Loulo-Gounkoto gold mine operated by Barrick Gold Corp., the transport minister said in a statement.
Drame speaking by phone said, “Officials were already aware of the large quantity of ammonium nitrate” at the port since July 28.
“After the explosion in Beirut, we decided it was urgent to have it removed,” he said.
President Macky Sall called for a review at the capital’s port at a cabinet meeting on August 19, promoting the ongoing evacuation.
The chemicals are being moved by road to Mali, despite a blockade against the country that had suffered a military coup on August 18,
Ammonium nitrate is exempt from the restrictions, according to Drame. “Mali has large mining operations,” he said. “Thousands of tons of the chemical pass through the port of Dakar to Mali — a landlocked country, every year.”