Introduction into Landmine problems and KMMCS additional use in dust reduction, fragment collection and soil improvement
1. The Effects and the Victims
2. General conditions within mined areas
3. Present Demining Technology (Garden Scissors, Vegetation Cutting Machines, Metal Detector, Prodder, Hand Shivel, MDD (Mine Detection Dogs)
4. Certification
5. Mechanical Demining as a solution
6. Additional abilities of KMMCS (Dust Reduction, Fragment Collection, Soil Improvement)


1.   The Effects and the Victims


2.   General conditions within mined areas


3.   Present Demining Technology

Even long time after end of hostility the mines kill innocent people and animals.

The clearing of those deadly traps, that meanwhile are covered by grass and bushes is until now the "manual demining" (commonly known as "humanitarian" demining = done by humans) as the only methode that is propagated by UN mine-experts. It is done with metal detectors, prodder (needles) and hand shivels.

lined path through suspected minefiled covered with vegetation  © Foto: Tim Grant

Everyone knows that this method is absolutely unsuitable and unsafe, because:

The affected countries continue however to use UNMAS standard operating procedures (SOP) as basis to develop their own guidelines in their territories. This always costs victims during and after demining operations.


The SOP of UNMAS rely on the "tools" Garden Scissors, Vegetation Cutting Machines, Metal Detectors, Prodder, Hand Shavel, Dogs

3a.   Vegetation Cutters: Garden Scissors

    Branch cutter © Fotos: Tim Grant

     Manual deminer with hedge trimmer

    The use of such equipment can lead to unexpected fatal explosions.

    With commercial standard branch cutter and hedge trimmer the vegetation above the surface is cut to faciliate the prodder-search later. Sometimes a trip wire is overseen and cut, what immediately causes the explosion of the bound mine and leads to death or mutilation of this deminer.

    Statistically there is one accident with death or mutilation at 1000 cleared mines. Worldide there are assumed to work 12.000 manual deminiers. Other source claim 8.000 resp. 10.000 humanitarian deminers.


3b.   Vegetation Cutting Machines

They are used exclusively as preparation machines for the "manual demining". They do not remove mines! They are falsely considered as demining machines. Indeed they only cut the vegetation that grew upon the minefields. The real "Mine Clearing" has to be done with the following "Tools" by humans as manual work direct at the center of danger.

All machines, except only the KMMCS, that are listed in the catalog of Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining are only applicable to preparation for the manual demining. The worldwide unique "Stand Alone Mechanical Mine Clearance System" which does not require manual de-miners behind the system is KMMCS. It surpasses the standard for mechanical demining, that the UN suborganization UNMAS published 2006, 12.Oct. IMAS 9.50, by the fact that the manual afterwork done by men or dogs demanded by chapter 4.4 can be waived. This is already our standard since one decade before the IMAS 9.50 had been issued.


3c.   Metal Detector
Main instrument for mine detection is the metaldetector. 70% of the land mines are anti-magnetic (plastic) and therefor can not be detected with metal detectors.
But thousands of harmless metal fragments cause up to 90% of false alarms.
Every signal could be a mine and must be carefully examined.
But plastic mines are not detectable. So the metal detector has a high failing rate by definition and it is not adequate as a trustful tool for safety improvement. The great rate of false alarms (wrong positively and wrong negatively) cost enormous time and money.

Manual deminer hopes on relayable signal of his metal detector

© Tim Grant  

At the European Mine-Conference at EU-Defence center JRC in Ispra / Italy in 1999 the grotesque situation of a quality award in spite of prooven failure happened:

The producers of mine detectors demonstrated their devices during the landmine conference in Ispra in fall 1999. They wanted to promote their detectors under ideal conditions in a sandbox with known positions of 27 mines: There had been an alarm-rate of up to 60 times, but one of the products only detected 18 mines, one other 19. The rest remained undetected.
Conclusion: even with known position and under ideal circumstances up to 30% of the mines had not been detected, because they had been made of plastic. In spite of this desastrous result the metal detectors gained the "award" as "suitable".


3d.   Prodder

Manual deminer with prodder poking in the soil

© Fotos: Tim Grant 

In case the mine has enough metal to be detected by the metal detector the exact position of the mine is located by poking with the prodder in the soil. The person has not more than 20-30 cm distance to the mine and can come in direct contact to the ignator!

Deminer with a metal piece of house building steel prodder poking in the soil


3e.   Hand Shavel

Hand Shivel

Deminer digging in the earth

Excavating and identifcation of ignorable material and the mine that had been found by poking with the prodder, directly at the place of highest risk. No comment necessary.


3f.   MDD (Mine Detection Dogs) (handguided at line)
Dogs are used were are too many false signals from metal detectors. The dogs smell the explosives, but they can not differentiate between free laying pure explosive or the encapsulated one in mine case. They can only find explosives where they are allowed to smell, and that can only be there, where their leaders guide them. That is at the minefield, and both, dog and human leader are in the area of highest risk.

No one can guarantee the resultant safety.

After excavating of the mine they are destroyed by extra explosives beside of them in situ from pyrotechnicans. For that the explosives and pyrotechnicans are needed at manual demining.


4.   Certification of cleared area
The certification of the rummaged area is done at the end of the work as spot check. The inspectors enter the field by foot, walk to randomly selected place which is regarded as typically. Some minefields are sized up to 1000 ha (1 km × 10 km) and have a probability of several to some hundred mines per ha. The inspectors check the area sized some m² regarded as typically by metal-detector, prodder and/or digging. By that a part of several promille or at best of some percent of the (former) minefield is checked. From the result of this is estimated to the result of the full sized area, in the hope that the clearance quality will be the same everywhere.

Even in uncleared mine field with their low probability of burried mines at several hundred m² it is a pure coincidence to step exactly at this specific spot, sized like a postcard, that covers a mine. To make a projection from an arbitrary selected area to the general quality of clearance operation, as the certification does, is not a reliable practice.
In case of explosion after certification this is called clearing mistake.

KMMCS as alternative enables the external certifiers to check the full size of the worked area. It can be done by travelling over the field at the last work step of the "internal quality control" as described in the SOP. They sit next to the soil, which is broken up and turned by agricultural equipment and can observe the full size area beeing worked. That way a 100% control is warranted and the inspectors do not step on the field.


5.   Mechanical Demining as a solution
In contradiction to manual deminers the KMMCS delivers the following:

The KMMCS finds and destroys all sorts of mines in the same moment without endangering of personnel with highest efficiency and speed with a clearance security of 100%.

All the tests done in Germany, Mozambique and Croatia showed a confirmed 100% safety record for functionable mines.

In real deminig actions 1996 in Mosambique

The minefields were found in forest, river borders, stone terrain and savanne.

The areas were certified as minefree by the National Demining Commission (Confirmation of Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and opened for the public use. No dangerous explosives had been found there since then.

At a test of KMMCS by UNDP/ADP Mozambique 264 mines of different kind were layed and cleared by KMMCS.

During the test 260 mines had been destroyed totally, 4 mines were unusable by separation of the ignator, at least 100%.

That was the worldwide first test of a mechanical mine clearance system, where the number of laied mines were known as basic 100%, to figure the clearance rate.


6.   Additional Abilities of KMMCS
6a.    Special Equipment: Dust Reduction and Downing
In dry and sandy areas it might be useful to add dust reduction ability to KMMCS. In Iraq and Kuwait possible radioactive dust of battle areas in deserts needs to be downed in the moment of demining treatment and in the time after it. The deadly dust of the remains of Depleted Uranium (DU) rounds of ammunition consisting of nano sized α-radiation emitting particles. Such already had harmful effects for persons and animals when incorporated. This dust had been transported by desert storms to far distant places. So appropriate precautions need to be taken to prevent further environmental pollution caused while any type of demining activity happens. With little quantity of soil adapted mixture of special liquid (environmental harmless, also used in food production) given in the process of KMMCS the milling dust will be reduced. After collection of the munitions fragments also the permanent dust development is reduced later because the sandy soil in deserted areas can be compacted.

6b.    Special Equipment: Fragment Scrap Collection
It also might be necessary to collect scrap of demining process, be it in desert or marsh land. Later access to fragments of Depleted Uranium ammunition needs to be prevented, as this dangerous material can be abused with criminal intent. And if depleted uranium fragments are not collected, the depleted uranium ammunition will degradate in the soil. Speed of this natural degradation depends on the circumstances, but resulting radioactive emitting fragments and liquids ever cause follow-up environmental harm.

6c.    Special Equipment: Soil Improvement
Several possiblities can be taken to improve soil for the agricultural use of the UXO- and minefree area. The methods can cover better water storage and adapted fertilization. These substances can be inserted during demining operation or afterwards. This can be combined with the seed or plantation in the last step of KMMCS demining operation.

KMMCS - Maschinelle Minenräumung und Bodensanierung
(KMMCS - Mechanical Mine Clearance and Soil Rehabilitation)
Tobias Steidle
Am Ehrenhain 2
D-38678 Clausthal
Tel.: +49 (0) 5323 92 21 55
Fax: +49 (0) 5323 92 21 56
Mobil: +49 (0) 170 9988 170
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