The business of landmine clearing

Bob French


Considering that some eighty countries have a problem with landmines, and observing the consequential effects on their economies, the amount of money available for the task of clearance is miserly. The article discusses landmine types and uses, and the excruciating work and cost involved in demining activity. Depending on the country, terrain, climate, commercial clearance, and NGO involved, costs to clear mines can vary from $2 to $39 per square meter. As an example of the size of the problem, Bosnia-Herzegovina has over 18,000 minefields mapped, with probably the same again not yet mapped. The mapped area represents approximately 3,000 square kilometers of contamination of which around 1,000 square kilometers is good agricultural land. In 2002, only four square kilometers were actually cleared. Various technical, financial, regulatory, and political prospects regarding landmine clearing are discussed.

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