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The Challenges of Predictive Numerical Calculation within Hypersaline Brines:Examples from Lithium Brines

Julien Declercq, Camilo de los Hoyos, Ruth Griffith and Rob Bowell
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
First presented: 
11th ICARD | IMWA 2018 Annual Conference
Published paper


Lithium brines, today’s main lithium source have been increasingly studied in recent years. Geochemical modelling can be used to predict the operational or underground brine lithium concentrations, but it can also be applied to ground stability prediction. However hypersaline systems are challenging to model due to the inaccuracies introduced by elevated ionic strength when using the extended Debye-Hückel theory. A different approach, such as Pitzer is required. However, while generally internally consistent, this database is limited in the number of phases and elements it contains and therefore has limited predictive power. To overcome this issue, a literature review was undertaken.

Feature Author

Camilo Raúl de los Hoyos

Camilo de los Hoyos is a PhD in Geological Sciences and Senior Consultant Geologist at SRK´s Mendoza office with over 12 years of experience in water resource assessment, environmental geochemistry, lithium-potassium brine exploration in salars and igneous/metamorphic petrology. He has participated in several small- and medium-scale water resource projects in Argentina, Bolivia and Venezuela.

He has extensive experience in Acid Rock Drainage and Metal Leaching (ARDML) assessment as well as ARD treatment and mine waste remediation programs. Camilo´s experience in lithium-potassium brines includes comprehensive resource exploration programs, geological exploration/assessment of materials for brine processing and Technical Due Diligence. 

His Doctoral Thesis on geochemistry, isotope geochronology and geothermobarometry was applied to petrology and geotectonic.

Environmental Specialist
SRK Mendoza
Rob Bowell (Dr)

Rob is a geochemist with over 25 years of experience in geochemistry, mineralogy, geometallurgy and geology. He is currently a Corporate Consultant in the UK Geochemistry team in SRK and provides advice and expertise in applying mineralogy and chemistry to solving engineering problems in mining. 

Corporate Consultant (Geochemistry)
SRK Cardiff
Julien Declercq (Dr)

Julien is a Senior Consultant with over nine years’ experience in geochemistry.  Julien focuses on numerical modelling of ARDML processes and mineral reactivity. A native French speaker and fluent in English, he is experienced in geochemical field sampling, field and laboratory analysis and data processing. Julien has worked in North and West Africa, the UK, France and North and South America.

Senior Consultant (Geochemistry)
SRK Cardiff
SRK North America