Brine Mineral Resource & Reserve Estimates for the Sal de Vida Project

M&A conducted field investigations to support the development of an inferred resource estimate for lithium brines; this estimate was later upgraded to measured and indicated. We based the estimate on the drainable porosity of the host aquifer, the concentrations of lithium and potassium, and measurements of aquifer parameters at pumping wells.


The Sal de Vida deposit, located in the Salar del Hombre Muerto in northwest Argentina, is a lithium-potash brine resource. The brines have been concentrated by evaporation, resulting in highly anomalous — and potentially commercial — quantities of lithium and potassium.


M&A provided a variety of hydrogeologic services for this project in accordance with guidelines of the Canadian Securities Administrators National Instrument (NI) 43-101 and the Australasian Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC). Principal Mike Rosko served as the Qualified Person for field investigations and technical reporting.

Brine Resources

  • Conducted an extensive diamond-drilling exploration program
  • Installed 13 brine test wells and conducted short-term pumping tests to measure aquifer transmissivity and collect composite brine samples
  • Conducted two 30-day pumping tests to evaluate the long-term drawdown response and brine chemistry analytes and stability
  • Collected hundreds of core samples for laboratory measurement of drainable porosity and depth-specific brine samples for geochemical analysis
  • Developed vertical profiles of brine temperature and electrical conductivity for 17 cased diamond drill holes
  • Conducted low-flow brine sampling at monitoring wells
  • Developed a conceptual geologic model based on the results of exploration drilling and testing
  • Developed the inferred resource estimate using three different methods
  • Prepared comprehensive reports that met NI 43-101 requirements
  • Recommended and conducted work for upgrading the resource to indicated and measured status under NI 43-101

3D Geologic Modeling

  • Developed a 3D geospatial model using Leapfrog Hydro to provide a basis for designing the layers and flow domain in the groundwater model

Groundwater Modeling

  • Developed a model using MODFLOW-SURFACT to simulate density-dependent flow and transport within the brine aquifer
  • Projected TDS concentrations and evaluated the feasibility of production-level pumping from two planned wellfields in the Salar del Hombre Muerto basin
  • Developed JORC-compliant proven / probable mineral reserve estimates and predicted brine grades over a 40-year project life
  • Evaluated pumping over a 40-year period, refining the wellfield layouts to maximize lithium production and minimize drawdown.
  • Evaluated the potential impact to other concession holders in the area