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Explosive Remnants of War Services (ERW)

Since 1991, MECHEM has been actively involved in commercial mine clearance operations (as evidenced by the MECHEM Track Record). During this period MECHEM personnel have gained valuable experience in the planning and execution of mine action operations worldwide and have established itself as a world leader in the field of commercial demining.

Extensive research and development in the field of counter landmine operations and demining over a period of three decades has created a capacity and a capability to effectively and cost-efficiently execute mine action operations. MECHEM has successfully completed numerous contracts with the United Nations and other clients in various regions of the world, and is registered with the United Nations as a commercial demining company. MECHEM is fully conversant with the international governing regulations and directives, in particular the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) and ensures compliance thereof. 

MECHEM's commercial mine action services include:  

  • Surveys
  • Actual mine clearance
  • Battle area clearance
  • Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD)
  • Mine Detection Dog Clearance (MDD)
  • Route Clearance and Verification
  • Mine risk education
  • Training in the demining and explosives fields
  • Area Cancellation
  • Quality assurance tasks

The Mechem 'Toolbox' approach to demining

"A toolbox cannot repair a broken vehicle - it requires a mechanic to select and use the right tool for the right job!"

Due to the unique nature of every landmine related situation, a standard or rigid approach is not always the most suitable solution. MECHEM understands that a standard 'one size fits all' solution will not be found, as every landmine related problem is unique to each circumstance demanding a different and specific solution. MECHEM has devised a 'toolbox' approach to effectively deal with each scenario. This approach entails a thorough analysis of the problem (situation) and the creative use of the right tool for the right job.

MECHEM empowers its deminer/explosive ordnance disposal operator to the extent that they become the primary component in solving a landmine/UXO (Unexploded Ordnance) issue.

MECHEM's approach to the task of demining/EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) is to:

  • Collect as much information as possible with regard to the conditions and circumstances relevant to the situation.
  • Intensive training of all relevant personnel in the nature and the scope of each problem.
  • Ensuring the availability of a "TOOLBOX" of the best and latest technology and equipment for the cost effective and safe solution of the problem.
  • Train all its personnel in the effective use of available technology and equipment.
  • Train its project managers, supervisors and team leaders to analyse and evaluate the factors influencing the solution to any landmine / UXO (Unexploded Ordnance) problem and then to use the "RIGHT TOOL" for the "RIGHT JOB".

The use of manual and mechanical methods of demining then depends on the requirements of the task, and using the "TOOLBOX APPROACH " to the advantage of its clients.

Manual Demining

MECHEM has a resource of professionally trained and experienced manual deminers/EOD operators. This capacity can be supplemented from a reserve of deminers who have served with the company as contractors through the years. As MECHEM recognises the importance of building local capacity in the mine affected countries, it gives preference to the recruiting and training of locals for the execution of contracts.

Mechanised Demining

Under certain conditions and circumstances a mechanised approach to demining is cost effective. This has led to the procurement of Mini Flails and one medium Minewolf flail which have been successfully operated in Croatia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Northern Iraq, Eritrea, Western Sahara, Turkey and Sudan.

Mine Protected Vehicles (MPV) Mounted Demining

The Mine Protected Vehicle (MPV's) pioneered and developed by MECHEM have been battle proven and offer excellent protection for personnel and equipment against the effects of all landmine blasts. A MPV can withstand the blast of up to three anti-tank mines detonating simultaneously under any of the wheels. These MPVs form the working platform on which we base our mine clearance philosophy and offer a safe working environment for our personnel. This is conducive to establishing a practice of a safe working environment.

MECHEM believes that where the terrain conditions and circumstances allow, the process of demining should, wherever possible, be conducted from the relative safety of a mine-protected vehicle.

Over the past years it has therefore focused on the development of such mine protected vehicle platforms as well as the tools and equipment to execute the demining task from these platforms. MECHEM, however, recognises that the major disadvantages of the global trend towards mechanised demining, is the cost of operating and maintaining the usually very heavy machines in the field and the expectation that they should be utilised under all climatic and terrain conditions.

The MECHEM approach has therefore been to rather focus on lighter platforms, with a selection of tools to choose from. The project manager then has the advantage of selecting the right tools for the right job under the specific climatic and terrain conditions.

MECHEM has always utilised the MPV platform to support route clearance and verification operations. Various metal detection systems were mounted behind the Casspir MPV to do route verification.

Presently MECHEM is in the process of developing a Vehicle Mounted GPR System. In accordance with Denel policy this system will first undergo trials and independent testing by the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research before being placed into operations. MECHEM intends integrating the GPR on a CASSPIR MPV and utilising its proven real-time marking system. It is also intended to integrate the system with the present metal detection system. Once completed and tested MECHEM will deploy the system operationally.

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