Falkland Islands/Malvinas

Last Updated: 16 December 2012

Mine Action

Contamination and Impact


The 1982 armed conflict between Argentina and the United Kingdom (UK) resulted in many thousands of antipersonnel and antivehicle mines being laid on the Falkland Islands/Malvinas, most by Argentina.[1] The Falkland Islands/Malvinas are the subject of a sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the UK.

More than 110 mined areas remain to be released, covering a total area of more than 9km2 and containing some 19,000 mines.[2] The area are said to be surrounded by a three-strand fence and marked with danger signs at regular intervals around the perimeter, in addition to the NATO standard mine warning triangles. When depositing its initial Article 7 report in August 1999, the UK included minefield maps for the Falkland Islands/Malvinas.

No human casualties from mines or other ordnance have been reported in the Falkland Islands/Malvinas since 1984, although there have been a number of “infringements of minefields” recorded, including several children and tourists; some people arrived in the mined areas after disembarking from boats. A number of cattle have been killed in minefields. Presumably, minefields are not fenced where the edge of the minefield touches the coast.[3]

Cluster munition remnants and other explosive remnants of war

There is also residual unexploded ordnance (UXO) from the 1982 armed conflict, including a number of areas that may contain cluster munition remnants resulting from the use of BL-755 cluster bombs by the UK against Argentine positions. Clearance operations in 2009–2010 across four mined areas encountered and destroyed two submunitions and nine other explosive remnants of war.[4] The precise extent of UXO contamination is not known. The UK has also noted the presence of booby-traps on the islands.[5]


[1] See UK Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form C, 11 April 2006.

[2] UK Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 30 May 2008, p. 2; and Statements of UK, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Geneva, 22 June 2010 and 22 May 2012.

[3] See ICBL, Landmine Monitor Report 2009: Toward a Mine-Free World (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada: October 2009), p. 1164.

[4] Statement of the UK, Tenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 1 December 2010. See the Country Profile for the UK for further details.

[5] See UK Article 7 Report, Form C, 11 April 2006.