Revolutionising mine clearance in Zimbabwe with MMD sizer technology

“As long as the mines are in the ground, I will still feel that my wounds are open.” Nicholas Gauti lives in the remote village of Chapuka in Zimbabwe. He lost his sight as a result of a landmine accident in 1984.

MMD (Mining Machinery Developments), which celebrates 40 years of mining equipment innovation in 2018, has donated a revolutionary anti-personnel landmine clearance rig to HALO to help clear landmines in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe has some of the densest minefields in the world. Thousands of kilometres of landmines were laid along the borders with Mozambique and Zambia during the Liberation War of the 1970s. Unfenced and close to houses, schools and farmland, entire communities risk their lives crossing through these minefields on improvised paths every day. It’s also estimated that since 1980, over 120,000 cattle have been lost to mines—each one an enormous loss of capital to local farmers.

Removing the landmines is slow painstaking work, largely dependent on our teams of dedicated Zimbabwean deminers working using metal detectors. But following a five-year collaborative project, MMD have created a mobile trailer rig that processes excavated soil using two 350 Series Sizers—ensuring any mines contained in the soil are crushed or detonated. The unit’s ability to handle a variety of soil types—from hard and rocky to wet and sticky—and its ability to destroy every mine that passes through mean that, working alongside our manual teams, it has the potential to vastly speed up clearance rates. Operated via remote control, the rig also minimises the need for human contact in highly sensitive minefields.

By 2025 it is estimated the rig will have destroyed more than 100,000 landmines—clearing approximately 75km of minefield. This means land can be returned to farmers sooner, children will be able to walk to school safely and valuable cattle will not be lost to mine accidents.

For Zimbabweans like Nicholas Gauti, a country free from landmines is his greatest wish. Thanks to the hard work, expertise and generous donation from MMD, this reality is a huge step closer.

“We are very grateful to MMD for this generous donation. Once this machine is set to work, it will increase the area of contaminated land we clear each day in heavily mined countries like Zimbabwe. MMD’s sizer technology will make a real difference to tens of thousands of people.” James Cowan, CEO, The HALO Trust


HALO would like to thank MMD for this amazing donation, developed with the generous support and contributions from Westbury, ABB, Siemens and Conveyor Units Ltd.

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