Explosive Precursors are substances or mixtures of substances that may be misused for illicit manufacturing of explosives. Although these precursors are typically used for their intended applications by professionals, Regulation No. (EU) 1148/2019 sets to restrict their availability to the public in order to limit their misuse. Explosive precursors fall under one of two possible categories and are either Restricted or Reportable.
Restricted precursors are chemicals that cannot be made available to, or introduced, possessed or used by, members of the Maltese public beyond a limit concentration, even if these come supplied as part of a mixture of substances. There are currently nine restricted precursors:
(*): % w/w: percentage of substance by weight
(**): 16% w/w of nitrogen in relation to ammonium nitrate, or 45.7% ammonium nitrate
This means that as of 1st February 2020, these chemicals were banned for the general public in concentrations at or above the stipulated limit value. If you purchase a product and recognize a restricted precursor in it, you are required to notify the Malta Police Force, our national contact point, within 24 hours of detection. For more information, see Annex I of the Regulation.
Reportable Explosive Precursors
The below chemicals are available to the general public, but if an economic operator detects a suspicious transaction or disappearance (possibly also related to theft) involving them, they must report it to the Malta Police Force within 24 hours:
Calcium Ammonium Nitrate
Magnesium Nitrate Hexahydrate
If you are a professional who makes use of the above substances, be sure to check your stock regularly and inform the Malta Police Force immediately upon detection of discrepancy. On the other hand, if you are involved in a sale which you find suspicious, you are also obliged to report the details of that transaction to the Malta Police Force. For more information, see Annex II of the regulation.
Suspicious Transactions, Disappearances and Thefts
If you are involved in the sale of an explosive precursor which seemed suspicious to you, or you have noticed that there is a significant amount of precursor stock missing from storage, you are to report to the Maltese Contact Point (Malta Police Force) within 24 hours.
If you are a member of the Maltese public and have been sold a restricted explosive precursor, you are also to notify the Maltese Contact Point within 24 hours.
Licences for Members of the Maltese Public
Restricted explosive precursors are banned for the public in Malta, and only professional users (as defined in Article 3(9) of the Regulation) may make use of them. However, there is a possibility for the establishment of a licencing regime for the procurement of restricted precursors by the Maltese public if required in the future.
As such, a licence for the public would allow licence holders to procure some substances listed Annex I at concentrations not exceeding the following:
Nitric Acid – 10% w/w
Hydrogen Peroxide – 35% w/w
Sulfuric Acid – 40% w/w
Nitromethane – 100% w/w
No licencing is permitted for other restricted precursors. If you are a member of the Maltese public, and would make use of a licencing regime established in Malta, you are invited to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Economic Operators and Professional Users
As an economic operator, you must ensure that any personnel involved in the sale of a precursor is aware of the provisions of the Regulation No (EU) 1148/2019, including the restriction of sale to the Maltese public, the reporting of suspicious transactions, significant disappearances and thefts.
Additionally, your responsibility is to ensure that other economic operators involved in the sale of a precursor are also aware of the provisions of this regulation. Any products that contain explosive precursors, which are made available to another economic operator and/or a professional user must be accompanied with information on those precursors and any other information as set out in Articles 7 & 8 of the regulation.
If you are a Professional user, you are to supply information to the economic operator that verifies your need to purchase an explosive precursor in relation to your trade or profession. This information should be supplied in the format detailed in Annex IV of the regulation.
For the purposes of verifying the identity of customers, an economic operator has the right and obligation to request information prior to committing to a sale. If an economic operator doubts the legitimacy of information provided in this way, they may refuse the sale and notify the Maltese Contact Point (Malta Police Force).