The 2014 Robert M. Dreyer Award
Awarded To: Ihor A. Kunasz
Ihor A. Kunasz is a project development executive who has analyzed major investment opportunities around the world and has negotiated their conversion to development projects. He started his career with Foote Mineral Company, where he became chief geologist and the leading authority in the field of lithium deposits, having visited and evaluated practically all the major pegmatite and brine deposits of the world. Following the acquisition of Foote by Cyprus Minerals Company, he was assigned to South America as Vice-President for the development of gold and copper projects. After completion of his assignment, he became the Soviet Union specialist and was the initial negotiator on the first Russian gold deposit to be successfully developed by a western mining company in Russia.
Dr. Kunasz is a graduate of College St. Clement. Metz, France. He has a BS in geology from Case Western Reserve University and MS and PhD degrees from the Pennsylvania State University. His doctoral thesis was on the origin of lithium in Clayton Valley, NV, where the first brine deposit was commercially exploited for lithium. He conducted the initial exploration program at the Salar de Atacama, Chile and was intimately involved in the negotiations with the Chilean government.
He has published over twenty-five papers, including the lithium chapters in SME's Industrial Minerals and Rocks.
He was a member of the National Academy of Science's panel on Alternate Energy Systems and was a member of the Academy's first expedition to the Lake Zabuye saline lake of Tibet.
He is presently a consultant on lithium and brines with the TRU Group.
Ihor Kunasz held various functions in the Industrial Minerals Division of SME, became its Chairman in 1989, served as a Board Member from 1988 to 1990, was Standby Alternate Director in 1991 and the 1998 SME President.
The Robert M. Dreyer Award in Applied Economic Geology, established as an annual Award in 1999, recognizes outstanding achievements in applied economic geology. The outstanding achievements so recognized must have been accomplished through commercial exploration or development of metalliferous and/or nonmetalliferous mineral deposits.