Robert Allen was a member of the council of the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa during 1911-1913. Around this time, presumably as a member of the Mines Trials Committee, he investigated various kinds of rock drill steel to determine the most suitable steel for use on the Witwatersrand, with the standardisation of its heat treatment. The resulting report was signed by Edward J. Way, chairman of the committee, and published in Johannesburg in 1913. Allen also wrote a paper on 'Air lift agitation of slime pulp', which was published in the Journal of the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa (1910/1, Vol. 11, pp. 422-).
He may be the same person as R. Allen, who was an associate of the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa in 1899 and 1903.
He may also be the same person as Robert Allen, MA, later of the Mineral Resources Department of the Commonwealth Institute in London, who wrote Copper ores (London, 1923, 221p), Bismuth ores (London, 1925, 62p) and Report on the mineral industry of the British Empire and foreign countries: Chrome and chromium (with G E Howling; London, 1940, 118p).