What is Barytes? - Introduction
Barytes (or barite) is the naturally occurring mineral form of barium sulphate. Its main properties are its high specific gravity (4.5), very low solubility; it is non-toxic, and also chemically and physically unreactive.
It is extracted by both surface and underground mining, followed by simple physical processing methods to produce correctly sized product and to remove extraneous materials.
Some 70% worldwide is used as a weighting agent for drilling fluids in oil and gas exploration. Other uses are in added-value applications which include the car, electronics, TV screen, rubber, and glass ceramics and paint industry, radiation shielding and medical applications (barium meals). Barytes is supplied in a variety of forms and the price depends on the amount of processing; filler applications commanding higher prices following intense physical processing by grinding and micronising, and there are further premiums for whiteness and brightness and colour.