Minefield clearance in the Falklands is going well on the current phase which will run until June 2017, Dynasafe Bactec Ltd. Program manager Guy Marot confirmed this week to Penguin News. Work to date has involved technical survey and clearance work in the Eliza Cove area (south east Stanley) and Goose Green, and is scheduled to continue after Christmas in the Mount Longdon and Hearndon Waters (Murrell) minefields, and Port Howard on West Falklands.
106 de-miners and support workers make up the team who occupy several houses in Stanley as well as the Millers Hotel building on John Street. Work to date has involved technical survey and clearance work in the Eliza Cove area and it is expected that everything will be cleared to the West fairly soon.
Marot said that four of the mine fields to the East of Eliza Cove had been actively cleared but a fifth would involve a complex search process.
“There are two little panels of mines inside that one somewhere,” he said, adding that in the meantime clearance would continue to the East.
Technical survey work is also ongoing at Goose Green which is expected to last until Christmas time.
Goose Green was almost cleared by military EOD teams after the 1982 war, which makes the remaining work more complex.
“Proving a negative is never easy,” said Marot.
After Christmas the Mount Longdon and Hearndon Waters (Murrell) minefields will be addressed and a further team will head out to Port Howard on West Falklands.
Program manager Marot said there were significant logistical challenges in terms of safety and life support systems in the future, working out the clearances on West Falklands and in the Murrell area just outside Stanley after the technical survey work provided no records.
Formerly Bactec International, the company which has worked on EOD projects in 41 countries has been working since 2009 to remove the estimated 20,000 antipersonnel and 5,000 anti-vehicle mines left by Argentine forces in 1982.
At the end of phase four in February this year the original 146 minefields had been reduced to 82.
The project is funded through the UK Foreign Office, and in response to the UK’s obligation to remove mines in their territories under the terms of the Ottawa Treat)y. (PN)