Barite is a mineral composed of barium sulfate, BaSO4. It is usually colourless or milky white, but can be almost any colour, depending on the impurities trapped in the crystals during their formation. Barite is relatively soft, measuring 3-3.5 on Moh's scale of hardness. It is unusually heavy for a non-metallic mineral. The high density is responsible for its value in many applications. Barite is chemically inert and insoluble.
Barite (BaSO4) is the most common mineral of Barium. It occurs as a vein filling and as a gangue mineral in silver, zinc, copper, nickel and lead ores. It is colorless or white, often tinged with yellow, red, brown or bluish.
- One of the primary applications is to make weighing agents in oil extraction. Barite is finely crushed and mixed with water, forming a mixture known as thixotropic mud. This mixture is now pumped into drill stem for oil rigging. Pertaining to the high density property of barite, the pressure exerted by the mixture on the walls of the oil well, forces the oil and gas to get released from the ground.
- This is also a reason as to why barite is used as an aggregate in preparation of heavy concrete and cement, which are in turn used in heavy construction equipment, and for making ballasts for tires of tractors. Many of the oil rig operators use barite mixtures in oil and mineral extractions. Also, this mixture prevents any probability of explosion during oil rigging. In the United States, this mineral is significant used for drilling activities in majority of oil rigging services.
- Most barite produced is used as a weighting agent in drilling muds. Barite is used as a weighting filler in rubber to make “anti-sail” mudflaps for trucks. Barite is the primary ore of barium, which is used to make a wide variety of barium compounds.
- Barite is also used as a pigment in paints and as a weighted filler for paper, cloth and rubber. The paper used to make some playing cards has barite packed between the paper fibers. This gives the paper a very high density that allows the cards to be “dealt” easily to players around a card table. Barite is used as a weighting filler in rubber to make “anti-sail” mudflaps for trucks.