NATO PfP Trust Fund Project For The Clearance Of
Unexploded Ordnance At Jeyranchel, Azerbaijan
|Phase 1&2||Phase 3|
- - October 2011 Trust Fund launched at the PPC
- - April 2012 Mine clearance operations start
- November 2013 Phase II project plan presented to PPC
- Within the I Phase of the Project during 28 months (April 2012 – July 2014) of clearance work 19 sq km of the territory has been cleared and 14,827 mines and unexploded ordnance have been found and destroyed.
- Phase II started on 8th July 2014 and continued for 29 months of clearance work. Within the II phase of the project 25 sq. km. has been cleared and 1 553 mines and UXOs have been found and destroyed.
- Phase III started in January 2017 and continued for 18 months. Within the III phase of the project 22 sq. km of the territory has been cleared and 2146 mines and UXOs have been found and destroyed.
United States of America and Turkey confirmed with its dedication as the Lead Nation for this project. Nations contributed to the Jeyranchel Project: Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States and Turkey. The Government of Azerbaijan being deeply concerned with this situation and considering the importance of this project for the country contributed 50% of the total budget of the project.
The former Soviet Army military test and training range at Jeyranchel in Azerbaijan was in active use over the period 1955-1991. Unexploded ordnances (UXO) and mines remaining in the area presented a serious humanitarian, socio-economic and environmental threat to the local population. The project aims at the clearance of this area.
During a visual survey in 2009, a large quantity of unexploded tank projectiles and artillery shells of different calibers, airdropped bombs and other types of unexploded ordnance were seen on the surface. Most of these had been fired but failed to detonate and are in a hazardous state. The area around live firing targets contains very high concentrations of UXO, much of it buried. In addition, around 7 Sq Km of the Phase I area was contaminated with a mix of live and training anti-tank mines containing a live simulator capable of causing serious injury if stepped upon. The State Border Service patrols the whole area and there are two manned frontier observation posts inside the hazardous area and one just outside.
The total area of 64 Sq Km has been divided into three approximately 20 Sq Km phases: Phase I of the project involved the clearance of 19 Sq Km of the western section of the range over 28 months (April 2012 – July 2014). 14,827 different types of mines and UXOs were found and destroyed. Significant quantities of range scrap and other military debris were removed.
Phase II completed in December 2016 having cleared 1,553 items of live UXO and many tens of thousands of items of debris. Phase III started in January 2017 and is finished in late summer 2018. At the final phase 22 Sq Km and of similar terrain but less highly contaminated with no mines have been cleared and 2,146 UXOs found and destroyed.
The key reasons for this project are:
Make the area safe for local farmers and the State Border Service border patrols;
- Open up the area for Local Authority development, principally for agriculture;
- Access to the nationally important archaeological and historic sites in the area;
- Some of the UXO and mines will become increasingly unstable and ultimately more difficult to recover – it is necessary to clear the area of hazard;
- Unguarded explosives in the vicinity of the strategically important international oil and gas pipelines present a potential security threat.
Prior to clearance work, Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action preparations (March – May 2012) included training and equipping the 48 man demining/EOD workforce, clearance to allow safe movement of the workforce into the area, the establishment of a temporary logistic base close to the area and development of detailed clearance plans. Phase I (April 2012 – July 2014) cleared UXO and mines from 19 Sq Km of the western section using two mechanical clearance machines (Bozena-5) and four mine detection dog teams for the 7 Sq Km minefield, and up to ten manual EOD teams for the remaining 11 Sq Km UXO area.
Phase II (July 2014 to December 2016) cleared the central 23 Sq Km using eight manual demining teams supported by mechanical digging equipment for deep buried items. The area consisted of largely open land with several weapon firing/impact areas with high levels of metallic contamination. No mines were anticipated or found.
Phase III was 22 Sq Km and was similar to phase II.