9 Dec 2009

70 old mines neutralised in New Caledonia's lagoon

2:38 pm on 9 December 2009

French divers have eliminated 70 mines which had been left in New Caledonia's lagoon since the Second World War.

The divers continued a demining effort for two weeks after experts from France, the US, Australia and New Zealand also spent two weeks in the area, identifying about 150 mines.

New Caledonia's daily newspaper quotes the commander of the French military in the terriotry as saying that the outcome was positive.

The French military had said the old mines contain up to 300 kilogrammes of explosives and could pose a risk to shipping.

In 1942, the Australian ship HMAS Bungaree placed 1,900 mines in 12 locations to counter a possible enemy invasion.