Mine clearance company Damasec is using global positioning systems (GPS) to help remove unexploded mines from Second World War mine fields in Denmark.
The mines were laid on the Skallingen peninsula by the German occupation force in 1944 as part of the Atlantic Wall.
Although most of the mines were cleared after the war, a 250ha section remained uncleared until 2006, when a three-stage clearance project began.
The third phase is now under way, with Damasec and civil contractor J Jensen removing mines from a 123ha stretch of the peninsula that includes marshland, dunes, dyke and beach. A total of 270,000m3 of sand will be screened for mines and mine remnants.
The contractors are using Trimble GPS technology to provide accurate location data and real-time field calculations.
All machinery is equipped with 3D Trimble GCS900 grade control systems, including 30t
excavators, two screening areas and two dozers. The grade control systems use global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) receivers that pick up signals from GPS and Glonass satellites.
At the start of the project Damasec created 3D digital designs of the Skallingen area, which were used to tell the excavator and dozer operators how deep to dig in the dunes.
“When we uncover a mine it is located and measured using the Trimble site positioning system rover,” said Damasec project leader Peter Starup. “We can record the position accurately, indicate whether the mine is to be exploded using an insitu leaching process; whether it is to be moved and exploded or whether it can be removed.
“Finally we take a georeferenced photograph so that there is an automatic link between the measured position of the mine and the corresponding entered data.”
So far 150 anti-tank and anti-personnel mines have been found down to a depth of 4m.