The two international airports and roads on Malaita under the Solomon Islands Roads and Aviation Project (SIRAP) have been cleared of unexploded ordnances (UXO).
Solomon Islands was littered with UXO during World War Two (WW2) which makes it necessary for infrastructure project sites to be surveyed and cleared of UXO.
Survey and clearance of UXO has been completed on all three projects sites under SIRAP, namely Honiara Airport, Munda Airport and Malaita road and bridges. Surveys were completed to confirm that there are no UXO and, if UXO were found, to safely remove them for demolition by the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit.
The clearance of Honiara Airport sites included the area west of the International Terminal and the apron extension and new taxiway areas, in preparation for Japan International Cooperation Agency funded works. Other sites included contractor laydown areas and Lungga River quarry. Additional clearance for a proposed future Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting shelter site at the Honiara Airport was also completed in late 2020. Across these sites, a total of over 2,100 UXO’s were found and deposed off.
The clearance of Munda Airport sites included the footprint of the new terminal and also possible options for the proposed future Control Tower. As this clearance complimented the previous extensive surveys performed by New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, only one UXO was found and deposed off.
Due to the absence of WW2 activity and lack of previous UXO finds on Malaita, it was expected that no UXO’s would be found. A number of selected locations across the Malaita road and bridge sites were surveyed, but no UXO’s were found.
A national company, Solsearch Consultancy Services, was contracted to do the UXO Survey and Clearance. The contract included developing and then implementing strict safeguards and workplace health and safety plans.
CSG Demining Consultants of Australia was engaged to undertake technical reviews and oversee the UXO clearance work by Solsearch Consultancy Services. CSG Demining also developed a detailed UXO Protocol for all SIRAP works, to be used by Contractors in the very unlikely event that further UXOs are discovered during construction.
SIRAP is financed by the Solomon Islands Government and World Bank, with SBD 2.6 million being dedicated to fund UXO clearance surveys.
SIRAP is part of the Pacific Aviation Investment Program which is investing in infrastructure, capacity development, and regulatory oversight to improve operational safety and oversight of international air transport infrastructure across the Pacific region.
The Ministry of Finance and Treasury is the Executing Agency. The Ministry of Communication and Aviation, and the Ministry of Infrastructure Development are the Implementing Agencies with support by a Project Support Team based in Honiara.