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BACTEC Awarded Falkland Islands Project

BACTEC Awarded Falkland Islands Project Image
BACTEC has been chosen to clear 4 areas of the Falkland Islands of unexploded mines.

Several thousand devices will be cleared during the four-month operation which is being carried out on behalf of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Falkland Islands Government.

The contract is a triumph for chief executive Guy Lucas who returns to a place he knows well. In 1982, the Kent-based bomb disposal expert was commanding the 49 EOD Royal Engineers when he accompanied the then governor Rex Hunt to the Falklands immediately after the Argentinean surrender. He was the first on the scene at the mined areas and set up the joint services clearance operation.

Mr Lucas said: “It's a job I've been personally chasing for 27 years. It's a tremendous achievement from the company's point of view. This type of operation is what BACTEC was set up to carry out and therefore it is a very significant milestone in BACTEC's history.” He added: “I have a great deal of information about the location of the mines and other ordnance.”

He returned recently to the Falklands to recce the terrain in preparation for the bid. “All the locals were extremely friendly. It was nice going back there to be part of the community again, and it will be nice to contribute to the clearance.

Mr Lucas paid tribute to his Medway colleagues who prepared the bid. “We had a strong team putting the proposal together and have an equally strong team ready to go down there to operate on the ground.”

BACTEC's operation will be led by two experienced Kent-based ex-Royal Engineers, Roger Gagen (project manager), and operating manager, Kevin Bryant. Both have previously served in the Falklands on bomb and mine clearance projects.

Clearance will be undertaken by 36 highly-trained Zimbabweans. They have already cleared thousands of mines in Taiwan and Lebanon and are said to have the essential patience, aptitude and technical skills.

They will be using the latest ground-penetrating radar and metal detection equipment as well as traditional detectors. BACTEC trains all of its staff to the highest standards and gives them the most suitable equipment. There is no time pressure on them and only when the staff have completed their repeat training and have been accredited by third party QA/QC organization, will they be deployed operationally.
“The health and safety of the work force is of prime importance in all BACTEC's operations and this is the whole ethos of our approach - working safely in a controlled manner and to the required standards”

The teams will be deployed to the Falklands later this month (Oct) and the operation will cover four specific areas - Surf Bay near Stanley Airport, a minefield on Sapper Hill, Goose Green, where Colonel H was killed, and another area at Fox Bay.

BACTEC has been provided with all available minefield records. But it should be noted that records are not always accurate and will be used as a guideline to the extent of the contamination of the area and the number of mines laid.

Award-winning BACTEC was set up 18 years ago and has worked in 40 countries, soon to be 41 with the Falklands.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office awarded the clearance contract as part of its commitment to comply with the Otttawa Convention

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