The University of Johannesburg (UJ) has successfully registered patents for a new device which is capable of identifying diamond-bearing rocks like Kimberlite.
Patented under the name MineralPET which stands for Mineral Positron Emission Tomography, the machine uses the same techniques usually applied in nuclear medicine to determine whether diamonds are present within rock formations.
A world first, MineralPET uses gamma-rays to look through the structure of carbon matter within rocks, and is able to differentiate the carbon structure of diamonds from that of graphite, coal and other similar mineral types.
The device was developed by UJ in collaboration with both the University of Witwatersrand and the engineering firm Bateman Engineering. Project leaders from all the organisations revealed that they are currently in the process of commercializing the new technology, which they believe will reduce the cost and overall environmental impact of diamond mining.