MMG LXML Sepon strives to speed up UXO clearance

07 Apr 2015 12:00 AMMedia Release

On 29 March 2015, MMG LXML Sepon (LXML) introduced a new item of equipment to enhance unexploded ordnance (UXO) detection at Sepon mine.

The UltraTEM II Deep Bomb Detection System (UltraTEM) passed two trials at Sepon mine, detecting UXO buried up to 3.5m deep.  UltraTEM was developed in Australia by Gap Explosive Ordnance Detection (GapEOD).  It is a multi-sensor mobile frame that can provide high definition digital mapping of buried UXO.

The new system distinguishes closely spaced targets, provides accurate estimates of position and depth, and produces an auditable digital recording.

Michael Laneville, Senior Geophysicist,  LXML UXO Department, said “we were clearing UXO with different types of equipment depending on soil properties.

"This placed restrictions on mining below 1.25m in some areas. UltraTEM can detect UXO up to 2.5m in a single pass in all soil types, increasing speed and accuracy. I am very proud that LXML is using cutting-edge detection technology, providing safer, more efficient, UXO clearance solutions."

Dr Stephen Billings, Director of GapEOD, said "LXML conducted a rigorous evaluation of the UltraTEM technology.

"Their professional and diligent approach allowed GapEOD to optimize and further develop UltraTEM technology for the harsh mining environment at Sepon mine."

Since operations commenced, LXML has cleared over 2,900 hectares, destroying over 45,000 items of unexploded ordnance.

In the UXO team, LXML employs 180 full time and 300 temporary workers from Vilabouly District, and a further 50 Lao supervisory experts.  LXML is cooperating with the Lao Ministry of Defence, UXO Lao and the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) to build capacity in UXO clearance techniques to meet international standards.

Lao PDR is the most heavily bombed country per capita in the world.  Approximately 260 million bombs were dropped on between 1964 and 1973. Of these, some 80 million did not explode, leaving a deadly UXO legacy.  UXO continues to claim lives and cause injuries in the Lao PDR.

The UltraTEM II Deep Bomb Detection System in use at LXML Sepon, Laos.

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