We describe here a method for the analysis of materials on a conveyor belt using the natural gamma spectra collected with a BGO (Bismuth Germanate) gamma ray detector. This detector collects gamma ray emissions from the Potassium (K), Uranium (U), and Thorium (Th) atoms in the materials. Based on these data, and using a Poisson model for the data generation, a statistical model is proposed and an approximate maximum likelihood (ML) technique based on the expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm is then used to estimate the amount of each of the three elements in the material. The statistical model is further refined to incorporate parameters of drift in the detector and an estimation technique for this is developed and tested against real data. The Cramér–Rao lower bounds for the estimators are calculated.