Deeside firm supplies tools for mine clearance charity

Diana was a famous patron for the HALO trust
Diana was a famous patron for the HALO trust

A small Deeside company is helping to rid the world of landmines by supplying a charity with state-of-the-art equipment.

Lumphanan-based DGPS4U, run and operated by village resident Jim Sugden, is providing the world famous HALO Trust with handheld global positioning system (GPS) devices.

The mine clearance charity will then use the equipment to detect undiscovered mines and destroy them around the world.

The Lumphanan firm has supplied the Scottish-registered charity for the past two years and has again provided the GPS systems at a cut price.

Jim told the Piper: “HALO Trust use our GPS handheld device to mark the position of land mines in these fields.

‘‘These minefields have been put down over many years.

‘‘The problem is that there is no record of what was put where, so they have to be found then mapped out!

“This where our handheld devices come in.

‘‘We are also working with other company doing the same sort of thing call MineTec.’’

These devices are very robust and can continue working on one charge for up to 10 hours with accuracy of a sub- metre anywhere in the world.”

Anti-personnel mines were banned under the 1997 Ottowa Treaty with their ban and destruction becoming international law in 1999.

Currently, 161 states have ratified or acceded to the treaty, including the UK.

But big geo-political players like the United States, China, Russia, Iran, India and Israel have not.

The HALO Trust came to international attention with the patronage of the late Princess of Wales, Diana Spencer.

The pictures of Diana - arguably the most famous woman in the world at the time - at an Angolan minefield in 1997 gave the campaign for banning mines fresh impetus.

Controversy over mines often centres on the fact they can cause injuries and deaths long after conflicts end.

HALO, who operate under the slogan “Getting mines out of the ground, now”, are active throughout the world with clearance projects taking place from Afghanistan to Colombia.

The HALO Trust celebrated its 25th anniversary in September last year.