Millions of mines lie in or on the ground in 62 countries resulting in thousands of deaths and injuries each year. Most mines are cleared using probes and hand held mine detectors; although sniffer dogs and a variety of machines are becoming more common. Clearing landmines is very expensive with costs often reaching US$10 per square metre; over US$1.5 billion has been spent on clearing mines since 1992. Most of the organisations involved in mine clearance have concentrated on technical aspects and put less emphasis on the most cost effective way of getting the job done. This paper reviews the contribution that economists can make in the area of humanitarian mine clearance and describes the development of a software package and manual designed to help managers decide which combination of machine and manual methods should be used to clear minefields to the required safety standard at the lowest cost.


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