Xieng Khuang: UXO Excavator Launched

The Lao National Unexploded Ordnance Programme and Japan Mine Action Service (JMAS) on Tuesday held an official inauguration ceremony for a UXO excavator called the “Mechanical Cluster Sub-munitions Clearance PC130-8” in Xieng Khuang Province.

The ceremony for the use of the Mechanical Cluster Sub-munitions Clearance PC130-8 was held on Dec 20 in Be Village, Peak district of Xieng Khuang Province in the presence of Vice Governor of Xieng Khuang Province Buasone Synouanthong, Country Director of JMAS in the Lao PDR Hiroaki Seki, Deputy Director of Lao National UXO Vanthong Khamdara, and representatives of the Komatsu Company.

“The Mechanical Cluster Sub-munitions Clearance PC130-8 was made by the Komatsu Company and will save both time and money. It has been tested for UXO removal in Xieng Khuang since August,” said Mr Hiroaki Seki.

Xieng Khuang Province has lots of explosive residue left over since the war which has caused many problems for local people and for economic development in the province, said Mr Buasone.

In spite of the fact that a massive amount of unexploded ordnance remains on over 30% of the land in Laos, disposal work has not been especially efficient and has resulted in reports of related fatal accidents and injuries every year.

At the inauguration ceremony, Mr Buasone expressed heartfelt thanks to Japanese government as the machine will greatly contribute to the collection and clearing of UXO in the province.

Komatsu Company has expanded the scope of its alliance with JMAS, a certified specific non-profit organization of Japan concerned with the removal of anti-personnel landmines, to include assistance for removal of UXOs in Laos, which began in August this year. The move follows Komatsu’s assistance with landmine removal projects undertaken in Cambodia and Angola since 2008.

Since 2006, JMAS has continued to make dedicated efforts to dispose of UXOs, but has faced the dangerous and time-consuming reality that much of the work had to be done manually.

To work around this, Komatsu developed a new demining machine based on a hydraulic excavator, whereas conventional demining machines are based on a bulldozer.

The new demining machine is equipped with special buckets capable of breaking up UXO cluster sub-munitions which are covered with hard metal. It is also versatile, allowing it to be used for bush cutting and ground leveling. Through the charge-free lending of its demining machine to JMAS, Komatsu stands committed to promoting the quick disposal of UXO in order to ensure that Laos’ land is safe.

Source: Lao News Agency