De-Mining: Continued Progress
The UK Government has committed a significant increase in funding to ensure that the UK’s commitment to clear the mines laid by the Argentine forces in the Falkland Islands in 1982 is achieved.
The UK Government has committed a further £20 million to fund the next phase of de-mining in the Falkland Islands. Visiting officials from the FCO and MOD in January confirmed that 46 minefields would be cleared over the next two years with surveys undertaken of 27 more. The current round (Phase 5) began in October 2016 and has already cleared about 2,000 anti-personnel mines and over 50 anti-tank mines.
The UK ratified the Anti-Personnel Mine Convention (more commonly known as the Ottawa Treaty) in 1998, which came into effect on 1 March 1999. Article V of the treaty set a ten year deadline for states parties to clear all minefields under their jurisdiction or control. The UK succeeded at the UN Conference on Disarmament in 2008 in gaining a ten year extension up to 2019 because of the difficulties involved. The first phase of de-mining, carried out by BACTEC (Battle Area Clearance, Training, Equipment and Consultancy) International, took place during the austral summer of 2009-10.
The Argentines laid some 20,000 anti-personnel mines and 5,000 anti-tank mines in 117 locations covering 13 sq.km of highly varied terrain during the 1982 conflict (no British mines were laid). So far, more than 30 minefields have been cleared removing over 4,000 anti-personnel mines and over 1,000 anti-tank mines.