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Mines

Whilst the main threat to people within in Laos comes from UXO, the threat from landmines is also present and is often understated.  Landmines, both anti-personnel and anti-tank or anti-vehicle were used in abundance and not in marked or recorded areas.

Between the opposing forces mines were employed around defensive positions, around key installations and patrol bases. Anti tank mines were deployed in areas of ground battles and were also used in ambush sites.
Some of the mine types had very limited ‘life’. ‘Gravel mines’ for example were used in large numbers, these were friction sensitive devices stored and dropped ‘frozen’ and then waiting for a step or movement to detonate them before they degraded; they have all gone now. But remaining in various states and conditions are:



- US M14 anti personnel blast mines,
- M16 bouncing fragmentation mine,
- M18 claymores,
- M15 and M19 anti tank mines,
- Soviet or Chinese PMNs anti-personnel blast mines,
- POMZ fragmentation stake mines and,
- TM 41, 46 and TM 57 anti-tank mines.

Mined areas also exist in some border regions as legacies of disputes or tensions with or within neighbouring countries.

Formal mine clearance operations are unusual within Laos today. With a steady expansion of land use ‘mined areas’ will become areas for growing concern. The challenge today is recording the mined areas, and remaining mine ‘aware’ in consideration or risks and threats