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stockpile destruction fact sheet

Stockpile of anti-tank mines
There are actually more landmines in stockpiles than those laid in the ground. In addition to governments, many armed groups have huge stockpiles of landmines. Destroying these stockpiles is a crucial step, because it prevents their use, forever.

Fortunately, in the past decade, 61 countries have destroyed some 34 million antipersonnel mines
. Countries that have signed the Mine Ban Treaty have destroyed about 27 million of these antipersonnel mines. Nearly eighty percent of the global total destroyed so far has been destroyed to comply with this Treaty

Stockpile destruction and advocacy are part of a sustainable and durable solution to the landmine problem worldwide
. This process ensures that national governments respect international laws developed to stop the use of landmines and other weapons of war.

Mines being destroyed using the Open Detonation technique during or after demining operations.
How are landmines destroyed? The destruction of AP mines is complex due to the large number of explosive devices that are involved. The physical destruction techniques range from the relatively simple Open Burning and Open Detonation (OBOD) techniques to highly sophisticated industrial processes. While there are many different techniques available for the destruction of mines, the choice of which technology to use depends on many factors including the availability of a particular technology, the cost, the condition of the stockpile, and the environmental impact. The most affordable technique is OBOD and in many cases is the only practical technique that is available.
What are some of the other techniques that are used? All of the other methods for destroying stockpiles involve one of the following:

exploding the mines (e.g., Contained Detonation);
using heat (e.g., Open Pit, Rotary Kiln, Hearth Kiln, Car Bottom Furnace, Directly Heated Retort, Plasma Arc) to burn the explosives;
mechanical disassembly (e.g., high strength crushing or shredding machines for mines with a very low explosive content);
biological (e.g., using bacteria to eat the explosive content) or chemical (e.g., electro-chemical oxidation) processes.

A mechanical mine clearance device that uses chains and small hammers to activate or destroy mines as it moves over the ground. This device cannot be used in rocky or hilly terrains, in forests, or if the ground is too muddy.

The United Nations encourages and supports stockpile destruction programmes
. Accordingly, the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) developed under UN auspices, also deal with stockpile destruction.


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