Richard Wellington Smith, 83, a retired manager of the natural resources department of the United States Chamber of Commerce and a former official of the U.S. Bureau of Mines, died Jan. 6 at Howard County General Hospital in Columbia, Md. He had Crohn's disease, an ailment of the gastrointestinal tract.

Mr. Smith, who was born in Gardner, Mass., served in the Army during World War I. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned a master's degree in economic geology from Cornell University.

From 1921 to 1925, he was assistant state geologist for Tennessee. He then moved to Georgia, where he became the state geologist. In 1940, he was named district engineer for the U.S. Bureau of Mines in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

In 1946, he moved to the Washington area and joined the Chamber of Commerce. He was manager of its natural resources department when he retired in 1963.

Mr. Smith, who published numerous papers in professional journals, was a fellow of the Geological Society of America, a senior member of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers and a member of the Society of Economic Geologists. He also was a member of the Cosmos Club.

He lived in Chevy Chase until moving to Columbia last year.

His wife, Katharine Cox Smith, died in 1980. Survivors include a son, Philip C. Smith, of Columbia, and three grandchildren.