Ernst Friedrich Dagobert Dorfell (also known as D. Dorffel and E.D. Dorffel), a German mining and metallurgical engineer, was the son of Ernst Dorffel and his wife Anna. He read a paper on 'Pyritic smelting and its bearing on certain South African ores' before the Chemical and Metallurgical Society of South Africa in April 1898.The paper was published in the society's Proceedings (Vol. 2, pp. 311-315). He became a member of the society (listed as E.D. Dorffel) at about this time, and was still a member in December 1903 (by which time the society had change its name to the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa).
During 1903 and 1904 Dorffel actively participated in the activities of the Geological Society of South Africa, delivering several papers, though not listed as a member. His first paper dealt with 'The Balmoral cobalt lodes' (Transactions, 1903, Vol. 6, pp. 93-94), from the position of which he inferred that the Waterberg beds rest unconformably on older rocks - a conclusion soon confirmed by E.J.P. Jorissen* and E.T. Mellor*. Next, 'The Kromdraai quartz reef and its geological association' (same volume, pp. 101-103) described a portion of what came to be known as the Black Reef Formation. This was followed by a 'Note on the geological position of the basement granite' (pp. 104-105). During the next year he contributed a paper on 'The relation of the Buffelsdoorn Series to the Lower Witwatersrand Beds in the Klerksdorp district' (Vol. 7, pp. 7-8), and participated in the discussion of a paper by F.H. Hatch* on the geology of the Marico district. He was presumably the owner or a director of Dorffel Mines, Ltd.
Dorffel was survived by his wife Helena, born Bindels. They were married in Melbourne, Australia, and had no children.