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Grey Barite | Baryte


Mangampet Grey Barite

Barytes: Barite / Baryte is a naturally occurring barium sulphate mineral (BaSO4). The color is usually white/Grey but can vary with the presence of purities. A commercially important characterstic of barytes is its relatively high density of 4.25 g/cm³ - hence the old name 'heavy spar'.

The baryte group consists of baryte, celestine, anglesite and anhydrite. Baryte itself is generally white or colorless, and is the main source of barium. Baryte and celestine form a solid solution (Ba,Sr)SO4.

Barytes is the main industrial source of Barium. The use of barium metal is minor and barytes is usually used as an industrial mineral. It is relatively common and widely distributed, although the bulk of world production is supplied by only a few countries (Ex. India, China).

Barytes deposits are found throughout the world in a variety of geological environments. The three major types of barytes deposits are -

The most important stratiform deposits are those formed by the precipitation of barytes at or near the seafloor of sedimentary basins.

The largest single deposit is the Mangampet deposit in Anhra Pradesh, India where two Stratiform lenses upto 1.2 km long and 20 m thick contain over 74 million tonnes of barytes. The APMDC is one of the major producers of the mineral.

Mining methods vary with the type of deposit. Major stratiform deposits are worked by open pit where this is practicable. The ore is drilled and blasted and then trucked to the mill for processing. The main use of barytes (90%+) is as a weighting agent in drilling fluid or mud. Finely grind barytes is added to the drilling fluid to increase the density of the column of fluid above the drill bit and thus assist in preventing a blowout. Barytes can form up to 40% of fluid by weight. although there are alternatives, barytes is the favoured weighting agent as it is non-corrosive, non-abrasive, insoluble and non-toxic. its also relatively cheap and easily available. The normal specifications are provided by the American Petroleum Institute(API).


Barite is used in other applications also, These include:

* as a filler in paint and plastics

* as the main source of barium for the chemical industry

* the production of lithopone

* miner uses as an absorber of gamma and X-ray radiation

* in glass manufacture as a flux and to add brilliance and clarity


In geotechnical engineering, Drilling fluid is a fluid used to aid the drilling of boreholes in to the earth. Often used while drilling oil and natural gas wells and on exploration drilling rigs, drilling fluids are also used for much simpler boreholes, such as water wells.

Liquid drilling fluid is often called drilling mud. The three main categories of drilling fluids are water-based muds (which can be dispersed & non-dispersed), non-aqueous muds, usually called oil-based mud, and gaseous drilling fluid, in which a wide range of gases can be used.

The main functions of drilling fluids include providing hydrostatic pressure to prevent formation fluids from entering into the well bore, keeping the drill bit cool and clean during drilling, carrying out drill cuttings, and suspending the drill cuttings while drilling is paused and when the drilling assembly is brought in and out of the hole. The drilling fluid used for a particular job is selected to avoid formation damage and to limit corrosion.

Compounds of Barium, especially Barite (BaSO4), are critical to the petroleum industry. Barite is used as a weighting agent in drilling Oil wells. A weighting agent is a material that adds body to petroleum. Drilling for oil used to produce huge gushers. A gusher is an oil that sprays out of the well into the air. Gushers are undesirable, because they waste oil and can burn for months if ignited. Gushers are caused by the pressure of oil rushing into a newly drilled hole in the ground. This pressure pushes the oil upward much too rapidly. Barite is added to the hole as it is drilled. There, it tends to mix with oil in the ground and form a very dense mixture that comes out much more slowly and under control.

This Weighting material is ground Barite and used to increase the density of drilling fluids to control formation pressures. Barite weighting material has a specific gravity of 4.10 / 4.20 and can be used to increase the density in oil and water-based drilling fluids up to 20 lb/gal (2.40 SG). Barite weighting material is chemically inert and does not affect drilling fluid chemical properties and it helps to stabilize the borehole and helps to prepare solids–laden plugs for well control applications.

Barite meets the API specification 13A, section2 requirement for a drilling fluid Barite.



Baryte (barite)

Sulfate mineral, barite group
Chemical formula BaSO4
Strunz classification 07.AD.35
Dana classification
Crystal symmetry Orthorhombic (2/m 2/m 2/m) dipyramidal
Unit cell a = 8.884(2) Å, b = 5.457(3) Å, c = 7.157(2) Å; A = 4



Color Colorless, white, light shades of blue, yellow, grey, brown
Crystal habit Tabular parallel to base, fibrous, nodular to massive
Crystal system Orthorhombic
Cleavage Perfect cleavage parallel to base and prism faces: {001} Perfect, {210} Perfect, {010} Imperfect
Fracture Irregular/uneven
Tenacity Brittle
Mohs scale hardness 3-3.5
Luster Vitreous, pearly
Streak White, Grey
Diaphaneity transparent to opaque
Specific gravity 4.00 to 4.25
Density 4.20 g/cm3
Optical properties biaxial positive
Refractive index nα = 1.634–1.637
nβ = 1.636–1.638
nγ = 1.646–1.648
Birefringence 0.012
Fusibility 4, yellowish green barium flame
Diagnostic features White/Grey color, high specific gravity, characteristic cleavage and crystals
Solubility low
Single Largest Deposit Mangampet, India


The unit cell of barite:

The radiating form, sometimes referred to as Bologna Stone, attained some notoriety among alchemists for the phosphorescent specimens found in the 17th century near Bologna by Vincenzo Casciarolo.

The name baryte is derived from the Greek word βαρύς (heavy). The American spelling barite is used by the USGS and more often used in modern Scientific journals including those published by the Netherlands-based Elsevier journals. The International Mineralogical Association adopted "barite" as the official spelling when it formed in 1959, but recommended adopting the older "baryte" spelling in 1978, notably ignored by the Mineralogical Society of America. The American Petroleum Institute specification API 13A & ISO 13500 which governs baryte for drilling purposes does not refer to any specific mineral, but rather a material that meets that specification, in practice this is usually the mineral baryte.

The term "primary baryte" refers to the first marketable product, which includes crude baryte (run of mine) and the products of simple beneficiation methods, such as washing, jigging, heavy media separation, tabling, flotation. Most crude baryte requires some upgrading to minimumpurity or density. Baryte that is used as an aggregate in a "heavy" cement is crushed and screened to a uniform size. Most baryte is ground to a small, uniform size before it is used as a filler or extender, an addition to industrial products, or a weighting agent in petroleum well drilling mud.


Other names

Baryte has gone by other names such as Muggurai, barytin, barytite, schwerspath, barytes, Heavy Spar, or tiff.


Mineral associations and locations

Baryte occurs in a large number of depositional environments, and is deposited through a large number of processes including biogenic, hydrothermal, and evaporation, among others. Baryte commonly occurs in lead-zinc veins in limestones, in hot spring deposits, and with hematite ore. It is often associated with the minerals anglesite and celestine. It has also been identified in meteorites.

The major barite producers are as follows: China, India, United States, Morocco, Iran, Turkey and Kazakhstan.