Ihor A. Kunasz

Ihor A. Kunasz (SME)

AIME Honorary Membership in

For his unwavering commitment to excellence in all aspects of the mining industry, strong leadership as SME President and promotion of SME values to the international mining community.

Dr. Kunasz was born in France and is a graduate of College St. Clement, Metz, France.  The family relocated to Cleveland, Ohio, where Dr. Kunasz earned a BS in geology from Case Western Reserve University and then MS and PhD degrees from the Pennsylvania State University. His doctoral thesis was on the origin of lithium at Silver Peak, NV, where the first brine deposit was commercially exploited for lithium.  Upon receiving his doctorate, Ihor joined Foote Mineral Company, where he became Chief Geologist.  The work that Dr. Kunasz did at Foote and later with Cyprus Minerals Company resulted in him becoming a world-renowned expert in lithium ore bodies.  His expertise led to the definition of the Solar de Atacama salt deposit in Chile, which is now the largest lithium-producing deposit in the world.  At Cyprus, Dr. Kunasz and his team developed models for defining brine deposits and their development to aid in lithium extraction from a variety of geologic environments.  He has also been a member of the National Academy of Sciences and was a member of the Alternative Energy Panel, and was a part of the Academy’s expedition to the saline lakes of Tibet.  Dr. Kunasz’s work in lithium has taken him throughout the world, including work in Russia, Kazakhstan, Chile, and multiple other countries.