NZ technology helping clear explosives in Laos

UXOLao technicians walks down a new road built atop the old Ho Chi Minh Trail (Getty)
UXOLao technicians walks down a new road built atop the old Ho Chi Minh Trail (Getty)

Innovative Kiwi technology is about to help in the massive task of clearing unexploded munitions in Laos, Prime Minister John Key has announced.

The New Zealand Government will provide $11.5 million to support the clearing of the thousands of mines and ordinance left behind by the Vietnam War.

Mr Key is in Laos for the East Asia Summit and met with the country's Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith in Vientiane.

NZ technology helping clear explosives in Laos

John Key and Thongloun Sisoulith (Isobel Ewing / Newshub.)

It's one of a number of bilateral meetings Mr Key will hold during his time there, including with controversial Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and US President Barack Obama.

The funding will include the trial of a New Zealand technology which destroys unexploded ordinance (UXO) by melting casings without having to dig up each piece. That in turn makes it easier to clear, particularly in densely populated areas.

Even though the country was blanketed with explosives decades ago, they're still causing serious injuries to people today, often blowing off limbs.

"Laos is the most heavily bombed country on earth by head of population and is still clearing up around 80 million pieces of unexploded munitions left over from the war in Indochina during the 1960s and 1970s," Mr Key says.

"Around a third of all bombs dropped at the time failed to explode and that unexploded ordnance kills or injures around 50 people every year, and stifles the country's economic development."

Newshub.