By Morten Rønning
At Dyno Nobel Inc.'s detonator factory at Port Ewen, New York, detonators for both anti-personnel (AP) and anti-tank (AT) mines are produced. The mine types in question are MOPMS, Gator CBU-89, Gator CBU-78, Volcano and Gator BLU-92/B., according to information from the US Department of defence.
Dyno Nobel inc. has supplied detonators to both the AP and the AT versions of these mines. The mines were delivered to the American military and are currently stored. Dyno Industrier in Oslo can not quantify the size of the supply, the value nor the date of the last delivery.
On request from Human Rights Watch, Jay Anderson from the senior management team for Dyno Nobel Inc. 27th august this year said that the company no longer produces detonators at the factory in New York.
But he is not prepared to waive the possibility for such production in the future, and refers to the potential change of the authorities' need for such weapons in the future.
Andrew Cooper in Human Rights Watch says to NorWatch that as a consequence of this statement, Dyno is listed on the organisation's bad list. This lists companies which do not distance themselves from such production. Human Rights Watch intends to publish this list later this month.
Information manager Jill Franklin says to NorWatch that it is no longer the policy of the company to produce detonators for the mine industry. When questioned on why Anderson has not expressed himself clearer in his letter to Human Rights Watch, she answers:
– The statement by Anderson does not reflect what Dyno intends to do, but what the authorities might require us to do.
Cooper maintains that Dyno has not changed policy on this area, as long as the company is not prepared to guarantee that they will not supply parts to AP mines in the future.
Lack of documentation to Foreign Ministry
In the Bill 186 from the Norwegian committee on foreign affairs, on a proposed total ban on production, storage, purchase and use of anti-personnel mines, the Foreign Ministry informs that Dyno Industrier has informed the ministry that they have not produced anti-personnel mines, nor parts of such weapons.
NorWatch has tried to get access to this documentation from both the foreign ministry as well as Dyno, in order to find out whether the company expresses itself on behalf of its production in Norway or as a whole. NorWatch has not been successful in obtaining this information.
The information to the foreign ministry is not given in writing. Consequently it is impossible to provide the exact formulation, says Franklin, who claims that Dyno informed about its activities in Norway.
Regardless, Dyno has withheld information about a production activity which, in this context, is highly relevant.
The Campaign Against Mines (Felleskampanjen mot miner) and Norsk Folkehjelp (Norwegian People's Aid - NPA) work actively for a total ban on anti-personnel mines. Norway is one of the countries which supports such an international ban.
Petter Quande of the campaign Against Mines is not surprised that Norwegian companies are involved in the production of anti-personnel mines.
– The fact that such production can happen without public knowledge, shows that there is a need for regulation. The parliament should require of Norwegian companies not to get involved in the production of anti-personnel mines. This must involve part production and completion in Norway, sale of technology and production in fully or partly owned companies abroad. It is particularly important that companies where the Norwegian authorities are represented, as Dyno, are actually followed up.
Dyno in the USA
Dyno Nobel Inc. in the US is a fully owned subsidiary of Dyno Industrier AS in Norway. The US company is mainly supplying civil explosives, among others to the mining industry. The detonator factory in Port Ewen, New York, today produces detonators for such purposes.
Mines in the developing world
It is presumed that there are around 110 million anti-personnel mines (AP) laid out in the World today, while around 100 million are stored. Annually, between 5 and 15 million AP mines are produced, and 2 million are laid out. Between 100.000 and 200.000 mines are removed every year, at a cost of from 300 to 1000 USD a piece.
The production cost of a mine is around 5 USD. Weekly 200 people are maimed or killed by AP-mines, 90% of which are civilians, 80% are children. 90% of the accidents happen after the conflict is over.
Mines are mainly a problem for countries in the third world. On the UN list of countries with large dissemination of mines, we find Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea and Egypt. Mines are also very widespread in countries in Asia, like China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq. In Latin America, Nicaragua and El Salvador are both on the list, as are Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina.
Norwatch Newsletter 9/96