Diamond mining technology
Companies are consistently exploring new technologies to simplify their workflow processes and help transform diamond mining into a safer and more productive industry.
3D imaging technology
3D imaging technology has improved exploration studies, and is especially useful in surveying potentially dangerous or inaccessible sites. Laser scanning captures spatial data using laser light and enables geologists to build 3D geological maps which help in mine scheduling, planning and targeting of drillholes.
High-frequency seismic reflection technology
Mine exploration is a challenging phase of the mining process, as the location of diamonds is not always obvious even for skilled geologists. It is also becoming increasingly difficult to find shallower deposits and exploration has moved to greater depths. Technology helps make the task of discovering diamond deposits easier and more accurate.
Seismic reflection technology or imaging is based on the principle that acoustic energy (sound waves) will bounce (reflect) off the interfaces between layers within the earth’s subsurface, similar to a human voice echoing off a wall.
Seismic reflection technology has become an important tool to help locate diamond deposits at depth.
Extracting diamonds from the earth’s surface requires a lot of effort. The application of robotic technology has the potential to reduce the hard work and eliminate often hazardous jobs, and is able to be applied in areas where humans cannot go.
Remote-controlled load haul dump vehicles powered by artificial intelligence have been introduced to make the process of diamond mining easier and safer.
To prolong the life-of-mine it has become increasingly important for mining companies to locate ore-bearing deposits found deeper in the earth’s crust.
SQUID (superconducting quantum interference device) is a highly sensitive measurement tool, a magnetometer, used in exploration. SQUID is able to detect and measure even the tiniest magnetic field shifts that indicate the presence of a kimberlite pipe deeply buried below the surface of the earth.
X-Ray transmission (XRT) technology
XRT technology, based on the property of the materials to absorb X-ray radiation, enables materials to be sorted and separated based on their specific atomic density. Diamonds, consisting of light element carbon, absorb less X-ray radiation then most of the minerals they are found with. XRT technology-based sorters, with specially-developed recognition software, measure the absorption of each stone and those that absorb more radiation are separated from those that absorb less.
XRT technology replaces the need for densemedia separation (DMS) which spins the minerals in a bath of water so that the heavier minerals, including diamonds, sink to the bottom to be collected. XRT technology sorters work more efficiently, with minimal excessive sorting, less breakage of stones, and have high recovery rates resulting in lower running costs and higher returns.
Diamond planning machines
Manufacturers use cutting edge diamond planning machines to guide employees through the manufacturing process to increase yields and profits. Advanced machinery has also increased yields from rough stone.
Computerised rough diamond planning systems provide detailed, 3D images charting internal inclusions. This information is used to optimally cut the stone based on carat weight, cut and clarity without human intervention and error.
Inventory management is a crucial aspect of the business. Stones need to be carefully stored and recorded, a task often done manually. Human error and time wastage makes this an inefficient and unproductive system.
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) uses electromagnetic radio waves to automatically identify and track tags that contain electronically stored information, and does not require direct contact or line of sight.
RFID is used to manage the movement of diamonds more accurately and reliably, improving efficiency and performance.
Drones have been used in the fight against conflict diamond mining. They are used to carry out reconnaissance in remote locations to identify illegal diamond mining camps.