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The drillcore rig setup on Dingo. Image: ANSTO

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) has developed a high intensity neutron imaging machine that can increase mining efficiencies and therefore minimise its impact.

The machine, called Dingo, is set to replace X-ray in the measurement of the mineral content of core samples.

Senior instrument scientist at ANTO’s Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering, Joseph Bevitt, said the technology would help save time and the planet.

“If you take gold for example, current X-ray technology is limited as to what it can reveal, especially when more abundant heavy metals such as lead are present in the ore as these prevent 3D X-ray imaging,” Bevitt said.

“Our 3D neutron tomography measures the exact gold content of a mining core, with neutrons able to image through lead, iron and other abundant metals, allowing parties to know the exact size of the lode underground through core samples without breaking earth.”

A false colour 3D mineral map of a drillcore. Image: ANSTO

Dingo is an Australian-first technology and has additional applications including the analysis of organic matter to better understand the environment.

“By examining fossils, for example, we can learn how animals and plants evolved to thrive through changing environmental conditions. This research is essential as we seek solutions to the problems caused by climate change,” Bevitt said.

Fields from palaeontology to engineering will be able to harness the power of the technology, speeding up all kinds of investigative processes.

“The device also can look for material imperfections down to a tenth of a human hair without damaging a sample. This is an integral part of ensuring the safety of materials being used for space and ocean exploration,” Bevitt said.

Academic researchers and commercial clients alike are encouraged to apply for the use of the technology, with its array of applications.

Bevitt said there’s no time like the present for those in need to harness the capabilities of Dingo.

“This is one of the world’s most advanced neutron imaging machines, at one of the world’s top scientific facilities. For many researchers this will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to validate their theories,” he concluded.