Saturday, 18 April 2020

Roshan B. Bhappu 1926-2019

I heard this week of the passing of one of the oldest members of our profession, Roshan Bhappu, who was President and Founder of Mountain States R&D International, Inc, Arizona. I thank Toni Griffin, Website and Social Media Manager of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. (AIME) for advising me of the sad news, and for pointing out that shortly before his death Roshan was interviewed by AIME, the interview being available on YouTube
I first met Roshan in 1986 in Falmouth, when he presented a keynote lecture on the impact of strategic minerals on mineral processing developments at the 2-week NATO Advanced Study Institute ‘Mineral Processing at a Crossroads’.  I last caught up with him at the 2012 SME Annual Meeting in Seattle.
Seattle, 2012
Roshan Bhappu passed away in Tucson, AZ on December 28, 2019 at the age of 93. He was born in Mumbai (then Bombay), India on September 14, 1926 and received his Doctorate from Colorado School of Mines in 1953. He worked as the Senior Metallurgist at the Bureau of Mines (now the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources) for 14 years and served as the head of the Department of Metallurgical Engineering at New Mexico Tech (NMT) from 1960 until 1972.
When Roshan left NMT in 1972, he joined Mountain States Engineers group. Mountain States R&D International, Inc. spun off as a separate company in 1987 with Roshan as founder and president, a position he held for the remainder of his career.
Over the course of his career, he worked on hundreds of mining projects spanning the extraction of base metals, precious metals, industrials minerals, coal, and uranium. His expertise included the pre-concentration of minerals using heavy media separation, heap and dump leaching, in-situ extraction of copper and uranium, and projects related to environmental considerations in the mining process.
He served as President for the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) in 1990, and the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers in 1992. He received many honors recognizing his significant contributions to his field, including the Van Diest Gold Medal from the Colorado School of Mines in 1968 and the Mining and Metallurgical Society of America Gold Medal in 2010. He was a “Distinguished Member” and a “Legion of Honor” member of the SME. He held several patents and served as a consultant to the World Bank and the United Nations. He authored many books and technical papers, and was an advocate for science education.
In recognition of Dr. Bhappu’s commitment to science education and supporting geoscience students, the Dr. Roshan Boman Bhappu Bright Star Scholarship will be awarded in January 2021. The Bright Star Scholarship Program provides support for three undergraduate students who work on projects with scientists at the Bureau of Geology.



  1. I have been one of Dr.Bappu's silent admirers right from the days I started my Ph.D. studies. I did not know he was born in India but I new of his links with Colorado School of Mines during my visits there and also from Rex Bull.
    We have to bow and salute persons like him for servong the profession so well with very limited resources and communications.
    My respects to his soul.
    Keep reminding us pf these Legends, Barry.

  2. I was lucky to spend time with Roshan in Peru, Mexico, and Tucson. I learned a lot from him in that time, everyone we met spoke to him with great admiration too. A really lovely man who did so much for technology development and teaching in mineral processing.


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