HALO’s manual deminers provide the backbone of most clearance programs.
Humans are the most versatile of “assets” and are able to demine in virtually all ground conditions. While each individual deminer may only clear 10-50 square meters a day, the work will be very high quality and the overall productivity across mined farmland will be considerable if there is a sufficiently large number of deminers deployed. Many HALO clearance areas have hundreds of deminers – while it is not unknown to deploy over a thousand deminers (such as along the old Taliban/Northern Alliance front lines south of Bagram airbase in Afghanistan).
Most manual deminers are equipped with electronic detectors which alarm against even the smallest metal components in landmines. However in some areas the background ferrous soil, or depth of mines, makes detection very slow and it is quicker for deminers to simply “sap” their lanes with hand tools down to the required depth. The newest detectors used by HALO are able to differentiate between metal clutter / detritus, and actual landmines.