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Interactive web-based platform for efficient water management in the lithium mining industry based on FEFLOW and MIKE Operations

Lithium mining operations based on direct lithium extraction from brines often use groundwater models such as FEFLOW or MODFLOW for their resource estimation, especially as the amount of extractable lithium (or LCE) depends on how much water can be extracted by pumping wells. At the same time the environmental impact of the pumping (e.g., drawdown) and in some cases the injection (e.g., dilution) needs to be assessed, also using groundwater models.

To effectively use the groundwater models for the mining operation, they should directly be connected to measured data, such as water level data, pumping rates, lithium concentration, to constantly reconcile the measured data with the predictive models. Furthermore, the groundwater model should not be a “black box” that can only be used by specialists, but be interactive and accessible by the mine operators, to run and analyze different mine plan scenarios themselves.

Therefore, an interactive web-based platform was developed based on FEFLOW and MIKE Operations. With the platform the user can, in a simple way, create new groundwater model scenarios by changing pumping rates or adding additional pumping wells, without having to open the software GUI. The model will then run automatically in the Cloud and the results are shown in an interactive map view and dashboard. At the same time the system includes all relevant monitoring and operational data, to easily compare the model data with the monitoring data.

This way the lithium mining operator has the necessary tools and data in one place to make effective decisions.


Robin Dufour1, Ferdinand Flechtner1
1DHI WASY GmbH, Germany
GeoBerlin 2023