CSIRO and corporate advisor RFC Ambrian have formed a company to commercialise technology for detecting and disposing of landmines, with their hand-held detectors potentially in use next year.
MRead builds on decades of work by the national science agency on ore sorting over decades, Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said on Tuesday. Its product will offer greater sensitivity than current metal detectors – as well as not detecting clutter such as bottlecaps – and uses the molecular signature of explosives.
Retired Brigadier and Managing Director of MRead, John Shanahan, said, “The magnetic resonance landmine detection technology will have profound impact on areas recovering from and currently experiencing hardship and danger from uncleared minefields.
“These enduring explosive remnants of war inhibit freedom of movement, limit access to food, water, schools, hospitals, and shelter that jeopardises the safe recovery and return of civilian populations.”
Unexploded landmines and other ordnance represented a global humanitarian crisis, “with over 100 million landmines deployed in more than 60 countries, causing around 6,500 casualties each year” according to the statement.
“The precision of this technology will be a game-changer for landmine-clearing efforts, delivering a solution that is faster and more reliable than current detectors, which in turn protects the people doing the clearing and expands the range of clearing efforts to make the world a safer place,” said Marshall.
“I’m proud to see world-class science driving innovation from Australia reaching out globally to make lives better around the world.”
MRead’s first customers are expected to be humanitarian NGOs such as The HALO Trust, who carry out demining around the world, and the detectors are expected to be in use in Southeast Asia in 2024.
Picture: credit AdobeStock, Kamber Ajdin