Mine action specialist
In demining, metal-detectors are used to detect the metallic content of explosive hazards remaining after conflict. When items have gone deep into the
ground, special detectors may be required. Some of these deep-search detectors are ferrous locators and will not detect metals that do not have an iron content so should not normally be used to search for plastic cased mines with aluminium parts. For the most part,
the most difficult target for the deminer to find is a plastic
cased mine (which may be anti-personnel or anti-vehicle) that
has a small metal content in the fuzing system. The metal may be stainless steel and the detonator casing is usually aluminium. These are called 'minimum metal mines'.
metal signatures of mines vary widely, and it is not only the
smallest signatures that can be hard to locate with a detector.
this is what detectors find most of the time. Defensive mined
areas around villages often get used as rubbish dumps.
there are fragments associated with conflict.
is a typical scrap-pit from one deminer's lane in the hills
is a scrap-pit for a group clearing a mined area in Mozambique where the mines included fragmentation mines.
onto the real targets - the PMA-2
is a notoriously hard mine to detect. It is common throughout
the Balkans, but is rarely found anywhere else.
is a section through the PMA-2 with the only metal part being
the aluminium detonator shell. The detonator size is 6mm x approximately
This is the R2M2, which shares its
fuze with the R2M1, the RAP "carrot" mine and the SA No8 AT
blast mine - so sharing the same metal signature. It is common
throughout Southern Africa.
is the R2M2 spring, pin and ball bearings. The steel used for
the spring and ball bearings is often surgical quality stainless.
This means that it is often only the detonators that can be
R2M2 detonator size is shown above.
a Type 72a - the minimum metal
mine that is most widespread in use - although not necessarily
the most common in any one country. It has been recorded in
Afghanistan, Cambodia, throughout Southern Africa, Iraq, etc
- but not in the Balkans.
are the metal parts from a Type72a. There is a two-part detonator,
a pin, and a thin 'arming' spring.
is not only minimum metal content that causes problem. Mines
with plenty of metal that are deep or heavily corroded can be
really difficult to detect.
is the GYATA-64 - a Hungarian mine
that is common in Southern Mozambique Yemen and Lebanon.
is a lot of metal in this mine - but when rusty, it can be very
hard to detect.
is probably the most common mine in the world,
the Type 72a, it has been used in most theatres except the Balkans.
The metal content of a PMN is less than that in a Gyata-64 -
but the large ring holding the rubber top in place makes it
easy to detect - as long as the ring is intact.
is not just the metal bulk that makes detection easy - its is also its
shape and orientation in the ground.
a detector can find that range of mines at a depth of 13cm (to
the top of the mine) in electromagnetic and reactive soils,
it is doing very well. If it could find them at 30cm -
it would lead the field.
Return to Introducing demining.