An Edmonton high school student is being credited with a brilliant discovery in the world of diamond mining.

Hamdi Ali is only 17-years-old. Together with her grad student mentor, she discovered a new way of removing diamonds from rocks.

They started by x-raying a piece of rock to see the diamonds inside. After that, they used two methods to extract the diamonds from the rocks. They cut one half of the rock with the industry standard mechanical vibrating plates. The diamonds inside were destroyed. For the other half, Ali used a device called that shot high voltage pulses to break down the other half of the rock.

“She found ten diamonds,” said Margo Regier, Ali’s mentor. “So what that implies is that when you use a mechanical crusher you are actually damaging a significant number of diamonds and decreasing your total diamond yield.”

The discovery led Ali to present her findings in front of several industry geologists.

Ali made the discovery while at the U of A as part of the WISEST Program, which helps encourage young women to explore science and engineering. She says when she started the program; she hadn’t even considered a career in geology.

“You don't need to have a PhD to do good scientific research,” Regier said. “You just need to have a new idea and you just have to work hard to make sure it happens.”


With files from David Ewasuk