At PDAC 2024, The Driller's correspondent, Rachel Bourne, had the opportunity to sit down with Brendan Bishop, a pioneering researcher delving into the untapped lithium reserves of Western Canada. Bishop's work, centered at the University of Regina, explores the potential of Devonian age brines as a viable source for lithium, a critical component in the burgeoning low-carbon energy sector and electric vehicle market.

Rachel Bourne: So, Brendan, you've done some research on lithium sources. Could you talk a bit about what you've found and what you're researching? Furthermore, are you still studying even now?

Brendan Bishop: There's a lot of interest in new sources of lithium to meet the demand of the energy transition towards low-carbon energy sources and electric vehicles. The main sources right now are hard rock deposits and continental brines. But, this is looking at lithium in deep subsurface brines or petro lithium from sedimentary basins in Western Canada. We're using existing data and frameworks to put together a deposit model to better figure out where there might be enrichments that can be exploited.

Rachel Bourne: That's really interesting. You've done a lot of research on that. So, have you used much of what you found previously with other records, or is it through the oil and gas? Essentially, where did you find this information?

Brendan Bishop: It's a combination. There are some historical brine records, especially in Alberta, and in the last 15 years, the Alberta and Saskatchewan surveys have been conducting brine sampling programs. A lot of it was existing data, and then it was samples that I collected through my work.

Rachel Bourne: So, you're still in school at the University of Regina?

Brendan Bishop: Yes, I am completing my PhD.

Rachel Bourne: Given you are still completing your PhD, I’m assuming you're hoping to bring this concept into the ‘limelight,’ so to speak. What's your plan for this research in the future?

Brendan Bishop: I plan to carry on research and try to put together a broader mineral systems or deposit model approach. This could either take me into industry or lead to me continuing to do research with a survey or university.

Rachel Bourne: I appreciate all the information. You've done a lot of research, and it's a fascinating topic I’m sure our readers will want to see more of in the near future, especially with the demand for this kind of research into lithium sources. 

Bishop's research marks a significant step forward in the quest for sustainable lithium sources, highlighting the importance of innovative mining and mineral exploration approaches. His work underscores the potential for previously overlooked resources to play a crucial role in meeting the global demand for lithium, propelling the energy transition forward.

For more information regarding Brendan Bishop’s research, be sure to take a look at his latest research on the topic, Investigating the Critical Minerals Potential of Saskatchewan Formation Waters