Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Maurice C. Fuerstenau (1933-2012)

It is with great sadness that we report that Maurice (Maurie) Fuerstenau died on October 7th from a major stroke. I met Maurie only this year, at the SME Meeting in Seattle, and found him to be a charming and modest man.

Maurice Fuerstenau (2nd left) with Nick Hazen,
me and Fathi Habashi in Seattle, February 2012
His brother, Prof. Douglas Fuerstenau, writes:

“Maurie was an outstanding teacher and he loved to teach. In the years after his official retirement, every other semester he taught a course, either undergraduate or graduate. This fall he was teaching the introductory materials processing course that was being televised by the University of Nevada. Not only was Maurie my brother but he also was a real friend. After he moved to Reno, we probably talked on the telephone two or three times every week on technical and semi-professional matters. Our lives had much in common since both of us were heavily involved with education and research in extractive metallurgy and mineral processing. Maurie was still very active in research with graduate students and with a postdoctoral fellow. He still had years of productive life ahead and it is tragic that his life was cut short in this manner. He leaves a major legacy of students, technical books and papers, and a long list of seminal research achievements in extractive metallurgy and mineral processing. There are many, many people out there whose personal success in various ways was nurtured and helped by Maurie. His untimely passing is a huge loss to his family, his friends, his professional colleagues, and to the worldwide mineral processing community.”

On behalf of MEI, and all our many mineral processing colleagues, I extend my sincerest sympathy to all of Maurie’s family. He will be greatly missed and I am sure that there are many who will want to send their personal condolences to the whole Fuerstenau family. I therefore ask you to leave your memories of Maurie and your appreciations of his life in the comments section below.


  1. Dear Professor Fuerstenau :

    My deepest condolences .

    Your beloved brother Maurice ,since his first degree in Geological Engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines, back in 1955, soon adding his D.Sc. in Metallurgy at the MIT, in 1961 , has been one of the foremost professionals in the field of mineral technology.

    I had the honor of first meeting him in a summer course at the University of Utah, in 1970, while pursuing my M.Sc. degree at the Colorado School of Mines.

    I was quite impressed by his very practical aproaches , with sound theoretical basis, of the teachings of mineral processing techniques and technologies as well as extration metallurgy processes .

    In fact , his well known and greatly praised books on froth flotation, mineral dressing and mining and metallurgical engineering in the Black Hills, amongst other articles and conferences, all demonstrate those very particular skills in allying practical matters to theoretical consistency.

    As Cyril mentioned " Our prayers and thoughts are with you all at this time of bereavement ".


    Professor Roberto C. Villas-Bôas
    Pesquisador Titular CETEM/MCTI

  2. Dear Doug,
    It was a shock to receive the sad news of the passing of Maurie. I always had a great admiration for him since my days at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (1977-1980). He was intelligent, energetic, and hardoworking, having the qualities that define the Greatest Generation, that followed WW2. He was a devoted teacher and my brother Carlos graduated from his department and is still proud of his South Dakota days. Please accept by condoleances on this great loss.
    Marc Meyers

  3. It is indeed with great sadness that we mourn the passing of Professor Maurie Fuerstenau. On behalf of the International Mineral Processing Council I wish to extend to his brother, Professor Doug Fuerstenau, and the family and friends of Maurie our sincerest condolences at this time of bereavement. Doug has lost a dear brother and the world has lost one of the great mineral processors in living memory. Maurie enjoyed an outstanding international reputation for his seminal research contributions to minerals processing and was also widely regarded as an outstanding teacher and mentor to his many post-graduate students. Our prayers and thoughts are with the entire Fuerstenau family at this time of sadness.

    Cyril OConnor

  4. What a loss... I have never got a chance to meet Prof. Fuerstenau in person but I am well familiar with many of his outstanding works.

    Elisaveta Potapova, Lulea University, Sweden (via LinkedIn)

  5. I am coming to this news quite late. I was a student of his at UNR in the early 90's. The internet does not appear to know one of his greatest accomplishments:

    Fuerstenau's Famous Law: In=Out

    Of course, he meant it tongue-in-cheek, but it is probably the most valuable thing I learned in "Intro To Chemical Engineering".

    My fond memories for Dr Fuerstenau live on.


If you have difficulty posting a comment, please email the comment to bwills@min-eng.com and I will submit on your behalf