EXPAL have successfully finished the phase of destruction of the 3.4 million anti-personnel mines of the Belarus stockpile.

On 5 April, a closing ceremony took place inside the premises of the 4870 Engineer Ammunition Base of the Belarus Ministry of Defence, Rechitsa, based at the mobile plant installed by EXPAL.

The Republic of Belarus fulfilled its commitment with the 1999 Ottawa Treaty, regarding the prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines, and their destruction.

The ceremony was managed by head of engineer troops management of General Staff of the Armed Force of the Republic of Belarus Colonel Andrey Kurakov; project coordinator Nikolay Ovsianko; Deputy Head of the Department of International Security and Arms Control, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Belarus; ambassador Andrea Wiktorin, head of the EU delegation to Belarus and Admiral (Ret) Francisco Torrente; as well as the EXPAL chairman of the board of directors.

Belarusian military authorities, members of the EU and an array of ambassadors attended the closing ceremony to witness the destruction of the last 78 mines.

EXPAL designed and developed a specific plant for this project that included a unique cold detonation chamber.

This project has complied with European and Belarusian safety and environmental standards, which have guided EXPAL in the development and implementation of the programme.

The mobile plant minimises the risks and costs of transporting these kinds of ammunitions and the facilities can be relocated to execute similar demilitarisation projects in other places.

There have been special procedures to treat the gases generated and to recover the scrap. EXPAL’s experience and knowledge in demilitarisation have been vital to the development of this programme, as all processes were developed for the destruction of this type of ammunition.

The company’s specialised technicians trained the local staff to carry out the works with the maximum guarantee and safety standards. The most dangerous processes were executed without the direct performance of the employees, with initiation systems provided by the parent company Maxam.

The next and last step will be the deconstruction and removal of the plant, leaving the terrain as it was before the installation.

The Belarus Government approved the convention on the prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines, and their destruction.

Known informally as the Ottawa Treaty, this convention became effective in 1999. Belarus and many other countries signed the agreement to destroy this and other kind of munition.

In 2010, the EU launched an international proposal to destroy the stockpile of this type of ammunition in the Republic of Belarus.

EXPAL was selected to develop this complex and ambitious programme above all the companies that presented a proposal.