A study to examine the equipment needs of land mine clearance organisations, and to assess the local capacity for manufacture of such equipment. The fact-finding team worked in the South of Mozambique, in the Province of Maputo, during the second half of November 1995.
The aims of this study were:
- to find out what equipment mine-clearance groups use and its sources, and to inquire what alternative/further equipment they want;
- to assess manufacturing capability relevant to the possible production of mine clearance equipment at rural and urban levels.
A number of mined areas were visited and mine clearance observed. At some sites, mines were placed defensively around possible targets. At others, mines were laid to destabilise the infrastructure by denying access to an area.
Nine groups involved in mine clearance in Mozambique were interviewed, one in their Zimbabwe offices, one in the UK and the others in country:
- Cap Anamur Demining (CAD)
- Norwegian People's Aid (NPA)
- The HALO Trust
- MECHEM (British Aerospace)
- Special Clearance Services
- Handicap International
All the above were asked about their working methods and the equipment they use.
Mine clearance groups usually distinguish between the detectors, which are the single most expensive item of equipment used, and all other equipment which they call "ancillary,'.
Of the detectors used the Schiebel and Ebinger models were the most common. No detectors were entirely satisfactory and the best were considered overpriced. We found a wide range of ancillary equipment in use, some of which was locally made.
Each group was asked if there were any items of equipment they did not have but would like, and what variations on existing equipment they would find most useful. Of equipment not used, body armour was the most obvious but there was no enthusiasm to use it. No one wanted mine-proof boots either (although one individual said he would try them). Most groups said they would try protective shields for use at "high-risk" times.
Alternatives wanted included cheaper detectors that were as good as those currently used, and better eye-protection. Other new or alternative ancillary equipment would be tried by most and tested by all.
There is little in the countryside although the small towns have something that could be exploited. In the capital city there is some sophisticated activity and great potential. Corrupt practices are rife, making import of raw materials and tooling expensive or time-wasting, or both. This situation does not seem likely to change quickly.
In Zimbabwe or the Republic of South Africa (RSA) the industrial situation is different. In Zimbabwe, ideally situated to serve both Mozambique and Angola with specialist equipment, we found a range of industrial capability including advanced electronics manufacture.
This paper is a part of an original report by the Development Technology Workshop
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