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SME 2019: Lithium Brine Deposits

Challenges of Finding, Evaluating, and Reporting Mineral Resources

Mining & Exploration   |   Monday, February 25   |   3:25 pm     Room 501

Economic concentrations of Lithium-bearing brines occur in salt lakes (salars) in select arid regions around the world. These brines account for over half of global lithium production in 2017. Brines are unique amongst mineral deposits because the valuable elements are contained in a mobile environment, and both brine composition and grade have a temporal component, before and during extraction. As each salar can exhibit highly variable characteristics there are no “rules of thumb” when it comes to evaluating and classifying resources. The chemical and hydrogeological complexity of closed evaporite basins makes the exploration, evaluation, and reporting of Mineral Resources for lithium brines challenging.

Brine deposits differ from hard rock deposits in that the resource classification is largely influenced by the hydrostratigraphic parameters and transmissivity of the units that comprise the salar. Compared to traditional hard rock deposits, reporting of Mineral Resources for lithium-rich brines requires a separate set of skills, challenges, and multidisciplinary approach to ensure correct project assessment and reporting.

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Pablo Cortegoso
Pablo Cortegoso
Senior Consultant

Pablo Cortegoso is a Civil Engineer with over 8 years of experience in civil and mining projects; specializing in lithium brine projects. His main areas of focus are surface water hydrology and modeling, project management, design and implementation of field programs and data collection and analysis for hydrogeological and geotechnical studies. Pablo has extensive experience in hydrogeological field programs, with an emphasis on lithium brine deposits, including well designs, packer testing and aquifer tests. Mr. Cortegoso expertise includes solar pond evaporation design, modeling and operation for lithium and potassium brine projects.

SME 2019


SRK North America