Momentous Milestone: Falklands are Mine Free
After 38 years the Falkland Islands have been officially declared Mine Free
Yorke Bay near to Stanley on the 14th November 2020 opened to the public for the first time in around 38 years, being one of the many minefields from the Argentine war with the Falklands in 1982 and being one of the last and most difficult mine fields to clear, marked the Falkland Islands as being officially mine free.
Historically, the statistics were alarming as the Argentine Government revealed that around 20,000 anti-personnel mines and 5,000 anti-vehicle (tank) mines had been laid in up to 151 individual minefields or Booby Trap area minefields.
Initially in 1983 the British Royal Engineers took on the task of clearing the mines and erected safety fences and warning signs around the minefields. Over the next 26 years a small EOD detachment diligently maintained the fences, maintained a surveillance of all minefields and using a remotely controlled piece of equipment did locate and destroy many mines which could be seen visually and were considered to be a danger to the public.
From 1989 , more than 100 demining team members, largely Zimbabwean, were been involved in the operation of removing the mines, most of whom had previously been employed by BACTEC in Lebanon and other problem areas where mines had been laid.
Enormous gratitude goes out to the whole de-mining team who have worked over the last eleven years in order for us all to be able to enjoy the beaches and countryside safely once again. There are Islanders old enough to remember a time when there was no such thing as a mine within the Islands and the younger generations and visitors who have never know it without mines. Some of the most beautiful spots, that no-one been able to step a foot on for nearly 40 years, are finally be reopened to the local population and international visitors to enjoy.
Message to the Falkland Islands from HRH The Duke of Cambridge