MoD seeks help to clear thousands of mines (Great Britain)
The Ministry of Defence is looking for a private company to clear the Falklands of the estimated 25,000 Argentine mines still buried there, The Daily Telegraph has learned.
Experts have calculated it will take a team of up to 200 workers between 10 and 15 years to remove the anti-personnel and anti-tank mines left behind during the 10-week occupation.
The task is beyond the Royal Engineers, whose explosive ordnance squadron is overstretched by commitments in Britain, Iraq and Afghanistan. When building begins at the Olympic site in east London, one of the areas most heavily bombed in the Second World War, they will be even busier.
There are still 117 minefields left in the Falklands, some in unstable boglands to the west of the capital, Stanley. Others are in the shifting sand dunes to the east of the town. In some parts minefields are within five yards of main roads.
There has been only one casualty so far, an officer who stepped on an anti-personnel device and lost his foot.
Sappers have dealt with more than three million bits of explosive ordnance, mostly bullets, since 1982.
Von: 09.04.2007 by Ben Fenton, www.telegraph.co.uk