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Understanding Barite: A Comprehensive Overview

2023/10/11 17:29
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I. Overview


  1. Theoretical Composition (%): BaO 65.7, SO3 34.3, with occasional presence of Sr, Ca, Pb. Ba and Sr can be fully isomorphous substitutes.
  2. Physical Properties: In its purest form, barite is colorless and transparent. Generally, it appears white, gray-white, light yellow, or light brown. Impurities can give it a light blue, pink, or dark gray appearance. It has a white streak. It exhibits a glassy luster, while its cleavage surfaces have a pearly sheen. Barite has a hardness of 3-3.5, is brittle, and has a specific gravity of 4.3-4.5. It has low abrasiveness, excellent shielding properties, and can absorb X-rays and gamma rays.
  3. Occurrence: Primarily found in low-temperature hydrothermal veins, such as quartz-barite and fluorite-barite veins.
  4. Industrial Applications:
  1. Chemical Raw Material: Used for extracting metallic barium and preparing barium compounds.
  2. Drilling Mud Material: Barite, being soft with high density and chemical inertness, is mainly used as a drilling mud weight agent.
  3. Chemical Filler: Barite powder is a common industrial filler and an excellent extender.
  4. Medical: Due to its X-ray and gamma ray absorption properties, barite is used as a shielding material in X-ray imaging for medical diagnoses.


II. Deposit Types


Barite deposits in China are classified into four types: sedimentary, volcanic-sedimentary, hydrothermal, and residual hillside accumulative.


III. Key Industrial Parameters of Deposits


Cut-off Grade: Barium sulfate (BaSO4) 10%

Industrial Grade: Barium sulfate (BaSO4) 30%

Mineable Thickness: Native ore 0.25 meters, weathered clayey ore 1 meter.

IV. Ore Characteristics

Barite ore composition (Table 1):


Ore Type

Ore Characteristics

Major Minerals and Associated Minerals


Blocky or banded structures, pebble-like

Barite, quartz, clay minerals, pyrite, etc.


Dense, gray to white

Barite, pyrite, chalcopyrite, galena, sphalerite, hematite, fluorite, witherite, etc.



Barite, siderite, magnetite, etc.

Residual Hillside

Easily beneficiated, relatively high grade

Barite, fluorite, calcite, quartz, etc.


Main Properties of Barite Ore (Table 2):



Mineral Name

Chemical Formula

Chemical Composition (%)

Density (g/cm3)

Mohs Hardness

Crystal System





BaO 65.7, SO3 34.3




Tabular, prismatic


Additional Properties:

  • Barite is insoluble in water and acid.
  • Barite is non-toxic and non-magnetic.
  • Barite possesses X-ray and gamma ray absorption properties.



V. Process Characteristics and Major Applications


Barite, with its high specific gravity (4.3-4.7) and low hardness (3-3.5), is chemically stable and insoluble in water and acid. Barite powder is mainly used in various industries, such as petroleum, chemicals, paint, and fillers. Approximately 80-90% is used as a weighting agent in oil well drilling mud.


VI. Product Quality Standards

Barite products have different specifications and quality requirements based on their intended applications.


VII. Barite Beneficiation Methods

Depending on ore properties, mine scale, and intended use, beneficiation methods for barite include gravity separation and flotation.


VIII. General Requirements for Barite Flotation Process


Grinding Fineness: Barite flotation typically requires a grinding fineness of 85-90% passing 200 mesh.

Agitation: A strong secondary stirring tank is preferable.

Flotation: The process typically consists of one rougher stage and one or more cleaner stages.


IX. Flotation Reagents for Barite

Commonly used reagents for barite flotation include sodium silicate, sodium carbonate as modifiers, and collectors like oleic acid, sodium oleate, or sodium dodecyl sulfate.