Diamond are an economically important mineral mined from volcanic pipes known as kimberlites. Kimberlites are processed to obtain gem quality diamonds, and waste rock is stockpiled as a resource since they likely still contain micro and macro sized diamonds (down to 75 micron grain size) which are valuable for industrial processes. Extracting these small sized diamonds is rather aggressive and may also cause damage and loss of the resource. The process for extracting diamonds is also dependent on the degree of weathering of the kimberlite. The greater the degree of weathering, the easier it is to process. The natural weathering of kimberlites appears to happen quickly near the surface but is not well understood, and is therefore the focus of this study. This project will examine the interactions between the kimberlite rocks and bacteria, which will help build towards the use of biomining and environmentally sustainable techniques in the industry.

Advisory Team: Professor Gordon Southam, Dr Emma Gagen

Funding: Industry Funded

Project members


PhD Candidate