Today 14 November 2020. the Falkland Islands have been officially declared mine-free, almost 40 years after the end of the Falkland Islands war. The minefield danger signs and fences that were once the hallmark of the invasion have all finally been removed, and the community is again free to enjoy some of the Islands’ most beautiful areas which have been off-limits since 1982.
STANLEY, Falkland Islands – On 14 June 1982 as British Forces liberated the beleaguered small Falkland Islands population from Argentine occupation and the Islanders rejoiced as British democracy was restored, disturbing rumours began to circulate – Argentine soldiers had reportedly been observed laying vast numbers of mines in areas close to the town and beyond.
On Saturday 14 November 2020, the Falkland Islands community will be taking part in celebrations to mark the completion of the Islands-wide demining program after 38 years since the end of the 1982 conflict. The Falklands' Government has announced that activities will begin with an event to officially reopen Gypsy Cove/Yorke Bay, the final area of the Falklands to officially be declared mine-free.
The minefields around the Falkland Islands capital, Stanley, dating back to the South Atlantic conflict, have remained largely untouched for most of nearly 35 years, due to the restrictions in place around access to the minefields. Over this time, they have become a haven for Falkland’s wildlife.
SINCE their deployment in October 2016 through to June 2017, the BACTEC teams have worked on 47 minefield areas from Fox Bay, Port Howard and Goose Green to the Stanley area. The team will now leave for three months before continuing the current phase.
A member of the demining team is receiving treatment in hospital following a demining accident on 27 February, reports the Falkland Islands government. During routine demining, a Team Leader, suffered minor injuries to his hand following an explosion. The incident occurred in minefield SA032 located in Moody Valley, to the west of Stanley.
The current phase of demining in the Falkland Islands, which began in January 2015, is nearing completion and MercoPress recently caught up with the Head of the Falkland Islands Demining Programme Office (FIDPO), Guy Marot, to discuss the ongoing progress of demining in the Falklands.
Two companies have been awarded contracts by the UK Foreign Office for the clearance of minefields in the Falkland Islands, dating back to the 1982 conflict when retreating Argentine forces laid antipersonnel and other explosives particularly in a ring surrounding the capital Stanley.