IDA, SWCC, DTRI to hold conference on ocean brine mining

The International Desalination Association (IDA) has announced its strategic partnership with the Desalination Technology Research Institute (DTRI) and Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) for a three-day Specialty Conference on Ocean Brine Mining for Desalination October 25-27, 2021, in Jubail, Saudi Arabia.

Jointly organised by the IDA and DTRI of SWCC, under the patronage of the Minister of Environment, Water, and Agriculture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, this specialty conference is a forum for technical experts, scientists, applied researchers, practitioners, and innovators. The aim is to share their latest technologies and experience in brine concentration extraction of valuable minerals. Brine mining is trailblazing a new desalination industry path of Zero Discharge & Cost (ZD&C) desalination.

This landmark event aims to capture a new industry trend of turning brine generated by desalination plants from a waste product into a sustainable and valuable alternative source of minerals currently obtained by terrestrial mining. 

“Our vision for the future of the desalination industry is to harness the value contained in seawater brine and to use it for subsidising the production of desalinated water, thereby transforming desalination into the lowest cost freshwater production technology in the world,” said H.E. Abdullah Al-Abdul Kareem, Governor of Saline Water Conversion Corporation.

The conference will provide a unique forum to experts and innovators in this new and promising field to share their knowledge and experience on leading-edge technologies that convert cost-effectively brine into mineral products and extract rare metals of strategic importance for advanced industries, including lithium, cesium, rubidium, and barium.

“The Desalination Community has proven that the constant evolution towards progress relies on sustainable and affordable technology to supply water for the population, Industry, and Agriculture. For over three decades, the evolution of technology has broken barriers in flux, energy consumption, scale, and flexibility to adapt to the new contract and financial models.

IDA commends these important changes and transformations, and will continue supporting this development as new challenges appear, and mineral recovery from brine discharge is a key innovation topic. The partnership with SWCC and DTRI is part of our new strategy to expand IDA’s activities and support stakeholders in their drive towards technical evolution for a better world.” said Carlos Cosin, IDA President.

The conference’s Day 1 programme is titled “Technologies for Brine Concentration and Zero Liquid Discharge.” It explores themes such as State of the Art of Thermal Brine Concentration, Brine Concentration for Harvesting of Minerals, and The Future of Brine Concentration – Next Generation Technologies. Day 2 will see “Technologies for Mining of Minerals and Metals from Brine,” focusing on state-of-the-art of brine extraction technologies. Day 3 has a session on “Case Studies for Desalination Brine Mining” showcasing projects for successful brine mining, an Expert Forum on “Brine Mining Challenges and Solutions,” and a visit to the SWCC Brine Mining Research Facility in Jubail and the 320,000m3/day Ras Al Khair desalination plant.

The conference will have four types of sponsors – Platinum – US$100,000; Gold – US$50,000; Silver – US$25,000; Bronze – US$10,000.

SWCC/DTRI will select and sponsor Best Paper Awards. The awards will be as follows: Premier Best Paper and Best Paper. The Premier Best Paper will reward the recipient US$10,000 and The Best Paper will have a reward of US$5,000.

Two researchers will also be awarded six-month DTRI Scholarships for the funding and pilot testing of their research at the DTRI centre in Jubail. The scholarships will cover all expenses of the selected scientists to travel to Jubail and to pilot test and advance the development of their technologies for six months at the DTRI and will provide a six-month stipendium/salary for the period of the scholarship. The two scholarships to be awarded by DTRI/SWCC are:

  • Scholarship for Advancement of Mineral Extraction Technology
  • Scholarship for Advancement of Rare Metal Extraction Technology

“The question of Ocean Brine Mining continues to be key in developing a sustainable future, and the IDA applauds the Saline Water Conversion Corporation for taking a lead role on this important subject,” said Ms. Shannon McCarthy, IDA Secretary General.

The Call for Extended Abstracts is now open and submissions can be made. Topics include:

  1. State of the Art of Thermal Brine Concentration
  2. Advanced Technologies for Membrane Brine Concentration
  3. Non-thermal & Non-membrane Brine Concentration Technologies
  4. Brine Concentration for Harvesting of Minerals
  5. Brine Concentration for Harvesting of Rare Metals
  6. Brine Concentration for Zero Liquid Discharge
  7. Case Studies for Brine Concentration
  8. Case Studies for Zero Liquid Discharge
  9. Lowering Cost and Energy Use Barriers for Brine Concentration
  10. The Future of Brine Concentration – Next Generation Technologies

Shortlisted authors will be notified by July 15, 2021 with full papers due by September 1, 2021. Final presentations are due by October 10, 2021.