Barite or baryte is a mineral containing barium sulfate. Its name is originally derived from the Greek word “barys” meaning “heavy”. This mineral belongs to the Barite Mineral Group along with anglesite, celestine and anhydrite. It has quite a beautiful appearance. This mineral ore is also known as Heavy Spar, Barytine, Schwerspath, Barytite and Baryte. It is the main source of barium. Aggregates of barite and sand is called rose rock which appears reddish in due to its iron content. It’s commonly known as barite rose.

Barite Mineral Ore Location and Mining :

It occurs in various depositional environments being deposited through a number of processes like hydrothermal, biogenic, and evaporation. Barite is commonly found in hot spring deposits and lead-zinc veins of limestone. It is frequently found along with hematite ore. This mineral has also been found in meteorites.
It is found in various regions of the US including Cheshire in Connecticut, De Kalb in New York, New Mexico, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada, Virginia, Missouri, and Kentucky. Barite is found in Baia Sprie in Romania, Westmoreland, Cornwall, Cumberland, Derbyshire, Durham, Perthshire and Surrey in the UK and also in India, China, Peru, Canada, Morocco, Turkey, Ireland, Thailand, Iran, Greece and Brazil. It is found in Barberton Mountain Land in South Africa.
The leading Barite producing countries are (production in thousand tonnes, in 2010):

  • China (3,600)
  • India (1,000)
  • United States (670)
  • Morocco (460)
  • Iran (250)
  • Turkey (150)
  • Kazakhstan (100)


Barite Uses :

This mineral ore has many important industrial and commercial uses such as:
A major amount (77%) of the total Barite found is used as weighting agent for drilling muds. The non-magnetic properties of this material make it more useful for this purpose as it does not interfere with the magnetic measurements of the borehole during the whole process.

  • Blue, black, gray or brown Barite is widely used for petroleum well drilling. The applicable Barite color is selected depending on the ore body.
  • This is the main ore of barium metal.
  • It is also used as paint and plastic filler.
  • It is applied for sound reduction in various engine compartments.
  • This mineral is used for making smooth and corrosion resistant coat of trucks and automobiles.
  • It is used in radiation shielding cements and glass ceramics.
  • This mineral also has medical applications. It is used for a barium meal or an upper gastrointestinal series before doing a contrast CAT scan.
  • This mineral was used for producing barium hydroxide for the purpose of sugar refining.
  • Historically it was also used as a pigment for paper, textiles, and paint.



Physical Properties of Barite
Chemical Classification Sulfate
Color Colorless, white, light blue, light yellow, light red, light green
Streak White
Luster Vitreous to pearly
Diaphaneity Transparent to translucent
Cleavage Very good, basal, prismatic
Mohs Hardness 2.5 to 3.5
Specific Gravity 4.5
Diagnostic Properties High specific gravity, three cleavage directions at right angles
Chemical Composition Barium sulfate, BaSO4
Crystal System Orthorhombic
Uses Drilling mud; high-density filler for paper, rubber, plastics
2015 Barite Production
Country Thousand Metric Tons
China 3,000
India 900
Iran 300
Kazakhstan 300
Mexico 220
Morocco 900
Pakistan 120
Peru 100
Thailand 130
Turkey 200
Vietnam 90
United States 700
Other Countries 500
Barite production is from the USGS Mineral Commodity Summary.

Barite Production:

The oil and gas industry is the primary user of barite worldwide. There it is used as a weighting agent in drilling mud. This is a growth industry, as global demand for oil and natural gas has been on a long-term increase. In addition, the long-term drilling trend is more feet of drilling per barrel of oil produced.
This has caused the price of barite to increase. Price levels during 2012 were between 10% and 20% higher than 2011 in many important markets. The typical price of drilling mud barite is about $150 per metric ton at the mine.
Substitutes for barite in drilling mud include celestite,ilmenite, iron ore, and synthetic hematite. None of these substitutes have been effective at displacing barite in any major market area. They are too expensive or do not perform competitively.
China and India are the leading producers of barite, and they also have the largest reserves. The United States does not produce enough barite to supply its domestic needs. In 2011 the United States produced about 700,000 metric tons of barite and imported about 2,300,000 metric tons.