D. R. Nagaraj


918 Mudd

Tel(212) 854-2905

Research Interests

Mines-of-the-future Technologies For Minerals Resource Recovery, Integrated Processes For Extraction Of Critical Minerals/metals, Novel Chemistry - Safer, Bio-degradable, Tunable, Switchable – Including Bio-based And Multifunctional Water-soluble Polymers

Nagaraj is a globally recognized scientist and a practicing engineer in the mining and mineral resource industry and the research community. Nagaraj Joined the faculty in May 2020 as a Professor of Professional Practice with a goal to develop, in collaboration with other faculty, an educational and research program in Sustainable Mineral Resource Management to prepare the next generation of engineers and leaders to transform this critically important field.

Nagaraj brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from the industry and a strong vision grounded in mines-of-the-future thinking that integrates advanced extraction, separation and purification technology with sensors, smart molecules and materials, data analytics, water-energy efficient processing, and improved legacy in a holistic way. A digital platform facilitates such integration.

Mineral resources are the backbone of our civilization. Their extraction from earth’s crust is critical to sustain economic development, meeting the demands of a growing population, and to address the great climate change challenge. But today the mineral resource industry itself faces several big and pressing challenges: declining ore grades and quality, increasing ore complexity and variability, safety and health risks; environmental impacts; high energy and water consumption; waste management risks; and eroding education and research. Although many of these challenges are not new, their severity and complexity have increased significantly. It is widely recognized that the current paradigm in mining is not sustainable, and that a major transformation is necessary. There is also consensus that the traditional “economies-of-scale” solutions, which served the industry well in the past, are not adequate. Nagaraj has argued strongly that merely cutting costs is not a viable strategy, but rather that innovative technological solutions, both engineering- and chemistry-based, and a holistic or systems approach, are the key to environmentally responsible and sustainable development. Ultimately, nothing we do will be sustainable until earth mineral resource production is sustainable.

Nagaraj started his career at American Cyanamid in 1979 after his doctorate from the Henry Krumb School of Mines (the first school of mines in the US) of Columbia University, and held various positions in Cyanamid/Cytec/Solvay over the years, but never far from science, research, and education which are his passions. Nagaraj has degrees in chemistry, mineral engineering, and metallurgy. He has a strong background and expertise in mineral processing and extractive metallurgy, mineral aquatic chemistry; organic/inorganic/coordination chemistry; water soluble polymers; applied surface and colloid chemistry; applied electrochemistry; data analysis. His skills and research interests have always straddled the interface between academia and industry, and between science and engineering.

Nagaraj has over 100 publications and 35 patents and has written many highly influential and critical papers. He served as an Editor for the International Journal of Mineral Processing for many years. Nagaraj is passionate about mineral industry education and has been a part-time educator throughout his career. He has collaborated with most of the global mining companies, has spent time in operating plants around the world to bring new technology and troubleshooting, has conducted education workshops in various aspects of minerals resource recovery, and has earned a reputation for seamlessly bridging theory and practice. He was an adjunct professor and visiting scholar for 5 years at the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre at the University of Queensland in Australia. Nagaraj was elected into the International Mining Hall of Fame in 2016 and elected into the National Academy of Engineering in 2006. He has received numerous other awards in his career including the prestigious awards from SME and AIME, and several scientific achievement awards in Cyanamid and Cytec. He has contributed significantly to the Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) for over 40 years in various capacities, particularly in education and dissemination of knowledge.

Nagaraj obtained his doctorate from Columbia University in Mineral Engineering & Applied Surface Chemistry in 1979; a MSc in Electro-hydrometallurgy and a BEng (Metallurgy) from Indian Institute of Science in 1974 and 1972; and a BSc (Chemistry) from Bangalore University, India in 1969.


  • Fundamental and applied (industrial) research experience for 41 years in the
    • Design of chemicals with targeted molecular architecture for surface property modification of minerals and metals for diverse applications in mineral resource recovery
    • Safer and environmentally benign chemicals in selective minerals/metals separation and recovery
    • Development of fundamental structure-performance relationships
    • Removal of toxic metals from process streams and effluents
    • Design, development and analysis of chemical and engineering solutions in mineral/material resource recovery and processing using a systems (holistic) approach (process engineering and optimization)
    • Critical analysis and understanding of the chemical aspects of complex reagent-solid-gas interactions
  • Development of an integrated electro-hydrometallurgical process for recovery of Cu, Fe and S from chalcopyrite concentrates – from lab scale experiments to implementation of large-scale commercial operation, including design of flow sheet, design/selection of equipment, and optimization of process conditions


  • Professor of Professional Practice, Earth and Environmental Engineering, 2020 - present
  • Principal Research Fellow, Solvay Technology Solutions 2014 – 2020
  • Senior Research Fellow, Cytec Industries Inc. 2007 – 2014
  • Adjunct Professor/Visiting Scientist in applied mineral chemistry at JKMRC of University of Queensland, Australia 2007 – 2014
  • Editor of International Journal of Mineral Processing (2007-2013); Member of Editorial Board of Minerals engineering (2007-present), International Journal of Mineral Processing (2007-2017), International Journal of Mining Science and Technology (China) (2014-present); Mining Metallurgy and Exploration (2020- present); International Journal of Minerals Metallurgy and Materials (2019-present)
  • Adjunct Professor, Columbia University, New York 2004, 2011-2015
  • Research Fellow, Cytec Industries Inc. 2003 – 2006
  • Associate Research Fellow, Cytec Industries Inc. 1997 – 2002
  • Principal Research Scientist, American Cyanamid and Cytec Industries Inc. 1992 – 1997
  • Senior Research Scientist- Level II, American Cyanamid 1986 – 1991


  • Member of Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) (43 years)
  • Member of the American Chemical Society (ACS) (~35 years)
  • Chair (2010-11) and Member (2004-2012) of the Executive Committee of the Minerals Processing Division of SME; Technical Content Advisor (2013-2016); Member of several SME committees (1990-present)
  • Member of the Hoover Medal Committee (2006-2012)


  • Inducted into International Mining Hall of Fame 2016
  • Letter of Recognition from the President, Cytec, for lifetime of dedication, commitment to excellence, and outstanding contributions 2014
  • Leonardo Da Vinci Innovation Award, Cytec, for the design and development of novel class of reagents for minerals separation and recovery 2012
  • Millman of Distinction Award, SME 2011
  • Leonardo Da Vinci Innovation Award, Cytec, for the design and development of new ligands for enhanced recovery of precious metals from mineral resources 2008
  • Elected to National Academy of Engineering, Class of 2006
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award, The Asian Columbia Alumni Association and Columbia Alumni Association 2006
  • Antoine M. Gaudin Award, SME, for contributions to advancing the art and science of flotation 2006
  • Distinguished Member Award, SME 2006
  • Frank F. Aplan Award, AIME (Engineering Foundation), for contributions to the development of novel flotation reagents 2005


  • Nagaraj, D.R., Farinato, R.S., Arinaitwe, E, and Bhambhani, T, 2019. “Unlocking the true value of chemicals in mineral processing”, Pub in Flotation '19 conference proceedings, MEI Minerals Eng., UK
  • Nagaraj, D.R. Farinato, R.S. & Arinaitwe, E. 2019. “Flotation Chemicals and Chemistry”. In SME Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy Handbook (Eds: R. C. Dunne, K. S. Kawatra & C. A. Young), Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration, Englewood, Colorado, Ch 7.5, pp. 967-1010.
  • Tercero, N., Nagaraj, D.R., & Farinato, R.S. 2019. “A Critical Overview of Dithiophosphinate and Dithiophosphate Interactions with Base Metal Sulfides and Precious Metals”, Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration, 36-1, pp. 99-110.
  • Nagaraj, D.R. & Farinato, R.S. 2016. “Evolution of flotation chemistry and chemicals: A century of innovations and the lingering challenges”, Minerals Engineering, 96-97, pp.2-14.
  • Waterson, C.N., Tasker, P.A., Farinato, R.S., Nagaraj, D.R. Shackleton, N, & Morrison, C.A. 2016. "A Computational and Experimental Study on the Binding of Dithio Ligands to Sperrylite, Pentlandite and Platinum", Journal of Phys. Chem. C., 120, 22476−22488.
  • Nagaraj, D.R., Farinato, R.S., & Tercero, N. 2016. “Probing the interface and interphase region of molybdenite edge and face in ore flotation pulps: effect of Mg2+ ions and their hydrolysis products”. Proceedings XXVIII International Mineral Processing Congress (IMPC), Quebec City, Sep. 2016
  • Nagaraj, D.R., Farinato, R.S. 2014. “Chemical Factor Effects in Saline and Hypersaline Waters in the Flotation of Cu and Cu-Mo Ores”, Proceedings XXVII International Mineral Processing Congress (IMPC), Santiago, Chile, Oct. 2014.
  • Patra, P., Bhambhani, T, Nagaraj, D.R. & Somasundaran, P. 2012. “Impact of pulp rheological behavior on selective separation of Ni minerals from fibrous serpentine ores”. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, Volume 411, pp.24-26
  • Nagaraj, D.R. 2010. “Chemical aspects of sustainable mineral processing and a framework for research and technology transfer”, 2010. In Proc. XXV International Mineral Processing Congress, Brisbane, Aus.IMM.
  • Nagaraj, D.R. & Ravishankar, S.A. 2007. “Flotation Reagents: A Critical Overview from an Industry Perspective”, In Froth Flotation: A Century of Innovation, Eds: M. C. Fuerstenau, G. J. Jameson and R.-H. Yoon, Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration, Englewood, Colorado, Chapter 10, pp.375-424.