Tuesday, 18 December 2012

In January begins third phase of Argentine landmine clearance in the Falklands

The third phase of explosive ordnance and landmine clearance in the Falkland Islands is scheduled to begin next January and extend until March 2013 and is programmed to concentrate in the surrounding of the capital Stanley.

The Zimbabwe team celebrates previous successful clearances of areas that included Surf Bay, Goose Green, Sapper Hill and part of Stanley Common  

These are the remnants of the Argentine occupation of the Falklands thirty years ago, back in 1982, which left thousands of mostly antipersonnel mines planted in areas considered strategic from a military point of view to defend the capital Stanley, but with which Islanders have had to learn to live for over three decades.

This next phase of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Explosive Ordnance and Landmine Clearance Programme is to be carried by BACTEC International Limited, who undertook the first two phases.

This is the third such phase of explosive ordnance and landmine clearance in the Falkland Islands. The first was carried out in 2010 with the successful clearance of areas that included Surf Bay, Goose Green and Sapper Hill, as well as land clearance on Stanley Common in 2012 that opened up a large area including the Stone Corral.

The scope of work for Phase Three is the clearance of one known, fenced, minefield in the part of Stanley Common that was released for public use earlier this year, as well as the clearance of the large (currently restricted) area just to the north and west of Mile Pond, which, it is suspected, contains two minefields.

Additionally, a further minefield just to the north of and bordering the Stanley to Goose Green Road, which was subjected to some clearance in 1982, is to be re-processed/cleared and the land released for public use.

Any available time will be used to carry out further land release to the east of Round Pond heading towards the Eliza Cove Road.

The BACTEC team will consist of 51 Zimbabwean demining personnel, most of who have already worked on Phases One and Two.

Phillimon Gonamombe will again be the Operations Manager and the project will be directed by Guy Lucas, who in 1982 set up the post conflict clearance and also directed the 2009/10 and 2012 programmes.

Guy has firsthand experience and knowledge of the Islands and the task at hand. Unlike the 2012 program, which focussed on land release, the 2013 program will focus on clearing known minefields to meet the UK Government commitment in accordance with the Ottawa Treaty, as well as doing some land release.

The BACTEC team is looking forward to returning in January to continue its work following up on 2012’s successful land release project.
BACTEC are pleased that Guy Marot, who was part of the team for Phase 1 in 2009/10, will be the Falkland Islands Demining Project Office (FIDPO) representative. (PN).

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