• June 22, 2022

Lithium, Battery and Energy Metals Conference 2022; Maintaining Lithium concentrations and minimising environmental impacts

Published on June 22nd, 2022

CSA Global congratulates Principal Hydrogeologist and Director, Paul Heaney on his recently accepted abstract: ‘Importance of understanding hydrogeological basin characteristics to maintain lithium concentrations and minimize environmental impacts’ for the upcoming Lithium, Battery and Energy Metals Conference 2022 between 14-15 September, 2022 in Perth, Australia.

Hosted by the AusIMM and Murdoch University, the conference will showcase the latest research, developments and innovative technologies relating to Lithium and its expanding market.

Join in-person in Perth or online as the conference delves into the current and future challenges impacting the industry, such as the supply and demand of commodities, ESG, mineral processing, and energy storage.


Lithium brine deposits are typically located in very arid environments, where a delicate balance exists between the saline brine within the central Salar and the surrounding freshwater resources. These freshwater resources are highly valuable and play a critical role in the ecology of these sensitive environments. A significant portion of the surrounding fresh groundwater typically discharges to the Salar and evaporates contributing to the brine resource.

Abstraction of brine for lithium production disrupts the natural water balance and, in the often highly permeable sequences, the impact of brine pumping can extend across large distances. As the brine level is drawn down this has the potential to increase freshwater discharge into the brine orebody, diluting the lithium resource and reducing the lithium brine concentrations being abstracted for processing. This can cause increased discharge from the surrounding freshwater resources to the Salar, leading to detrimental impacts not only on the lithium brine resource but also the surrounding valuable freshwater resource and any sensitive aquatic environment (impacting freshwater springs, pools and the flora and fauna reliant on this freshwater).

A comprehensive understanding of the hydrogeological characteristics of the entire catchment and the delicate inter-relationship between rainfall/snow, recharge, evaporation, surface water, groundwater, springs, perennial/ephemeral pools, freshwater, saline water (brines), water quality and the water dependant ecosystems is critical to supporting effective management of the lithium brine resource and the regional water environment.

Effective brine and water management is critical for profitable mining operations and to maintain a social licence to operate. Sustainable water management is imperative for permitting new mines, controlling costs, maintain regulatory compliance during operation and avoiding long term legacy issues following mine closure


Paul Heaney
Principal Hydrogeologist & Director, ERM Partner

Paul has 30 years’ experience in water resources assessment, development and management. Paul has managed hydrogeological mine water management studies across Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe, North & South America and the Middle East. Paul has extensive experience in mine water management in a wide range of climatic and hydrogeological environments, working in both extreme cold and extreme heat, from coastal up to highly mountainous regions, and has worked on projects in the Andes, the Arctic circle, and many of the arid deserts and tropical rainforests around the globe. Paul regularly completes fatal flaw, due diligence and independent technical expert assessments to support project acquisition, funding and regulatory compliance on international mining projects across the globe. He is currently involved in the water management aspects of many on-going feasibility studies, including lithium brine projects in Chile and Argentina and hard rock lithium projects in the U.K., France and the Czech Republic.

AusIMM Lithium Battery and Energy Metals Conference 2022


Connect with Us

How can we help?

Contact us to discuss how we can help your organisation.