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Remembering Dr. Roshan Bhappu

Dr. Roshan Bhappu
(click for a larger version)

January 10, 2020

Dr. Roshan Bhappu, renowned metallurgical engineer, former Senior Metallurgist for the New Mexico Bureau of Mines and faculty member at New Mexico Tech, passed away in Tucson, AZ on December 28, 2019 at the age of 93.

Dr. Bhappu was born in 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 NMT from 1960 until 1972. Bureau Emeritus Senior Mining Engineer Bob Eveleth remembers Bhappu for his “thoughtful, congenial, and easy going manner.”

While at NMT, Bhappu played an important role in the early stages of many student’s careers. Indeed, former student Dr. Raul Deju remembers of Bhappu, “His kindness, his intellect and his desire to help people like me basically helped me do the same with other students…It is because of him and a work study program at the Bureau in the 1960’s that I was able to succeed in my professional career.”

When Bhappu 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 Bhappu as founder and president, a position he held for the remainder of his career.

Over the course of Bhappu’s 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 concept, 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 is a “Distinguished Member” and a “Legion of Honor” member of the SME. He holds 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 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.

For more information about Bhappu’s singular life, read his obituary published in the Arizona Daily Star.