Landmine and UXO Clearance

MAG removes unexploded landmines and bombs from land and destroys them, making it safe for communities to grow food crops, access water sources, and carry out housing, education, health and other infrastructure projects.

 MAG in 2016 infographic

We also clear roads of landmines so that NGOs and other organisations can reach remote areas to deliver humanitarian aid and development projects. 

We work with communities to understand how they are affected and what their needs are. Communities like Munekelwa village in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Puthukkudiyiruppu in Sri Lanka where MAG made seven schools safe, and the many displaced people in northern Iraq.

We clear land so that people can go about their daily lives free from danger and fear. We help people that had been living in fear to farm their land, build homes, go to school and move around – in safety.

Since 1989, MAG has freed 18 million people from the fear of landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO), and in 2016 alone helped over one million girls, boys, women and men.

INSIDE A MINEFIELD IN the Democratic Republic of Congo.


There are number of tools used to detect and destroy landmines, including manual deminers, mechanical resources and mine detection dogs. Using a combination of all of them is often referred to as the ‘tool box’ or integrated approach to landmine clearance.

Manual demining using metal detectors is the most common method of clearing landmines. Mechanical demining and dog support have limitations and need to be more focused in the right areas to maximise their impact.

Remote-controlled or armoured machines can be used to remove undergrowth and vegetation to prepare areas for manual demining teams or dogs to search the suspected hazardous area. They can also be used to flail the ground to smash or detonate landmines.

Other techniques are used use to improve the process: every time we clear a landmine we place a marker in its place and sometimes the markers reveal a pattern. This pattern lets our experts know if they can reduce the area using machines or dogs to verify that no mines exist. This is called land release.

This method defines the area where mines are present, meaning fewer areas requiring inch-by-inch clearance. We call this ‘area reduction’. However, sometimes landmines are laid randomly, so every inch of the suspect area need to be cleared.

Manual clearance: deminers with detectors and other equipment.

MAG deminer in the Democratic Republic of Congo

A MAG deminer in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Photo: Sean Sutton/MAG

Mechanical: the use of specially designed machines.

An armoured bulldozer in Lebanon

Different machines are used for different tasks, in order to maximise efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Here, on land used by shepherds in Lebanon that is suspected – but not known – to be mined, an armoured bulldozer pushes the topsoil into mounds. The mounds are spread out and then checked for landmines by deminers with detectors. 

Photo: Sean Sutton/MAG

Mine detection dogs: trained to ‘sniff out' explosives.

MAG Mine Detection Dog in Iraq

Specially trained mine detection dogs are best suited for 'area reduction' and low-risk clearance. 

Photo: Sean Sutton/MAG


  Risk education

  Arms management and destruction

  Emergency response

  Frequently asked questions