For a long time a lot of resources were spent clearing land that had no landmines.
Efficient land release promotes survey above clearance in areas suspected to be contaminated. Application and promotion of good land release methodology is core to NPA’s Mine Action work. NPA’s land release process involves the application of all reasonable effort to identify tight confirmed hazardous areas using an evidence-based approach comprising of non-technical survey, technical survey, and clearance. Suspected hazardous areas are considered as areas where further survey is needed.
The first phase in Land Release is the Non-Technical Survey (NTS), whereby new and already existing information about areas suspected of having mines or unexploded ordnance is collected and analysed. Such areas are known as Suspected Hazardous Areas (SHA). It is often possible to delete parts of an SHA and release them for use solely on the basis of the collected information that shows that the area is not, in fact, affected. Such a release thus happens without the use of any clearance resources. An area confirmed as dangerous on the basis of the analysis is termed a Confirmed Hazardous Area (CHA). A demarcation line (polygon) is then drawn up around it. Non-technical survey can sometimes define fairly accurate Confirmed Hazardous Area (CHA) polygons (affected areas). At other times, non-technical survey must be reinforced with elements of technical survey for improved accuracy of the CHA polygons.
The next phase is the Technical Survey (TS). Personnel then use different tools such as dogs, machines or manual deminers to look for information in the hazardous areas. Personnel look for mines, explosives, possible patterns, other signs of warfare and tactical reasons for laying mines, collecting and analysing information, which indicates where the mined area is located. Personnel can then further determine the area enclosed by the polygon and cancel the areas that fall outside. The Technical Survey also helps determine what types of clearance resources are most suitable for a given area. Once TS has been carried out, Personnel draw up detailed clearance plans.
With the Land Release concept, the actual clearance becomes the final phase and the last method to be taken into use. Wherever possible, NPA personnel do not commit clearance resources to an area before they have actually concluded there are explosive hazards on the ground.