Over 3.4 Million Mines Destroyed
On 5 April, a ceremony was held at the mobile munitions destruction facility created by EXPAL within the 4870th Engineer Ammunition Base at Rechitsa in the Republic of Belarus to mark successful completion of the destruction of over 3.4 million munitions, including PFM-1 anti-personnel mines. The occasion marked Belarussian fulfilment of its commitment to the 1999 Ottawa Treaty banning the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of ant-personnel mines and mandating their destruction.
In attendance were Col. Andrey Kurakov, Head of Engineers on the Belarussian General Staff – project coordinator; Nikolay Ovsianko, Deputy Head of the Department of International Security and Arms Control, Belarussian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ambassador Andrea Wiktorin, Head of the EU Delegation to Belarus; and Adm. (Ret.) Francisco Torrente, Chairman of the EXPAL Board of Directors, all gathered to witness the destruction of the last 78 mines.
EXPAL designed and developed a mobile plant specifically for this project that includes a cold detonation chamber unique in the world, with special processes to treat the gases generated and to recover the scrap. EXPAL’s experience and know-how in demilitarisation have been key to the success of the project, which has complied with all European and Belarussian safety and environmental standards. The plant has enabled EXPAL to minimize both physical risk and the cost of transport for this type of munition: the facility is now available to be relocated for similar demilitarization projects.