Landmines and Humanitarian Mine Action

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Landmines and HMA glossary

The Database of Demining Accidents (article)

Database of Demining Accidents website

Last updated: ongoing

Disclaimer: the content of this site reflects my personal experience and opinions: these should not be presumed to represent the opinion of any of the people or organisations I have worked with.

For detailed reports on accidents in which deminers have detonated a device as they work, see the Database of Demining Accident victims at DDAS online. These reports are often snapshots of minefield activity and can help you to understand the varied processes involved, and the varied risks associated with them.

Having been involved in Humanitarian Demining for longer than I care to remember, I find that I am frequently contacted with questions about Mine Action. Some are technical questions from professionals, others are more "basic" questions from newcomers. At times I find it hard to find the time to answer appropriately, so I put this website together to try to answer the more common questions generically. If you cannot find the answer you need, write to me at avs(at) and I will try to answer in a timely and appropriate manner.

This website provides a gateway for people to read or download a wide range of documents and materials on Mine Action - including "operating procedures" for demining groups to adapt, and training materials for both the experienced and the inexperienced.

If you are a newcomer, when you have finished looking through the introduction I recommend that you read the paper:- Myths, Mines and Ground Clearance.

The documents and materials are divided into the categories shown on the right and there is an Index as well.

This site will always be "under construction" because I am always learning. I have tried to keep the site simple and hope that sharing information will reduce the number of well intentioned but "cowboy" operators at all levels in the Humanitarian Demining community, from researcher to hands-on deminer.

If you have comments or criticisms - please send them.

About Andy Smith or email me at avs(at)

Many thanks to Craig and Hum Relyea in the USA who gave me this website in 2002.

And thanks to the late Hans Georg who (many years ago in Mozambique) awarded me the above sculpture in recognition of my work in demining. It is made from recycled assault rifles. While I am no kind of knight, I do wear armour, like horses, and I advocate using long handtools - and I believe in tilting at the odd establishment windmill, of course.





Issues and comment

APOPO rat assessment
Black Adder disrupters
The lack of essential safety data in HMA
Small Unmanned Aircraft in HMA

What is Humanitarian Mine Action?
Dealing with IEDs in Humanitarian Mine Action
Humanitarian Mine Action in Iran 2016
Three failings of the campaign to ban landmines

How to become a kind of deminer
What is wrong with the pursuit of efficiency

Seeking cooperation twixt field and research
Land Release - a reduction in standards
Is it safe to prod for mines?
How to get mines out of the ground safely

Why not clear mines in Myanmar?
GICHD - not fit for purpose...?

Do insects eat High Explosives?
Wearing blast goggles instead of blast visors?
Wearing a chin-strap with a visor or helmet
Device atrophy
What are the IMAS requirements for hand tools?
Is it safe to use free running EDD/MDD?
Are tripwire operated mines the greatest danger to deminers?
Magnets and safety

The REDS Demining system
The Arjun Demining System
Why isn't it safer for a deminer to work lying down?
The death of International Standards
Reducing areas as part of Land Release
UNMAS in Libya - another critical failure
UNMAS in Sudan - a shameful episode

Site A-Z

Platinum visor

Designs of improved full-face visors (lighter and more comfortable), head-frame and frontal PPE are all in production. The designs and production support were given in a technology transfer to an exclusive manufacturer of PPE for humanitarian demining in an emergent economy.

Generic SOPs Handbook V2
(Demining Handbook)
(for access to both *. doc and *.pdf files, click here*)

This is a fully detailed "how to" document covering all key aspects of humanitarian demining. It serves as a template for demining SOPs, and also a demining handbook (copyright free).

Introduction to Humanitarian Demining

Protective equipment (PPE)

2003 - 2018 Andy Smith, AVS Mine Action Consultants