The University of Johannesburg has successfully registered patents for a new device which is capable of identifying rocks that contain diamonds.
Business Day reports that the MineralPET machine employs techniques applied in nuclear medicine to determine whether diamonds are present within rock formations.
The machine makes use of gamma-rays to ascertain the structure of carbon matter within rocks, and can differentiate diamond from graphite, coal and other mineral types.
The device was developed by the University of Johannesburg in collaboration with both the University of Witwatersrand and engineering firm Bateman Engineering. Project leaders say they are currently in the process of commercializing the new technology, which they believe will reduce the both cost and environmental impact of diamond mining.