Barite is natural barium sulphate (ÂàSO4). The main technological properties that define a wide range of the industrial use of barite are high density (4.3-4.6 g/cm3), chemical inertness, low hardness (low abrasiveness), the ability to absorb X-rays, high content of barium, whiteness. Barite is used primarily as the weighting material of drilling agents (70% of world consumption); the best base in the production of colored paints, special cements, resistant to aggressive environments; «heavy» concrete, used in foundations of heavy structures for pipe laying in swampy areas and under water ; in road construction; for a durable and flexible layer of the upper covering of the pathways at the airports. Chemical industry uses barite in the production of barium salts, used in various industries. In addition, barite is the cheapest protective material in the construction of "burial grounds" and reactors in nuclear power industry (Akhmanov etc., 1995).
Barium ore is natural mineral formations, containing barite of such concentrations at which it is technically practical and economically feasible to extract and use it. Barite ore deposits are divided into proper barite and complex ones, predominantly sulphide-barite. Complex ores, containing barite, have low content of barite, while for receiving barite concentrates the flotation methods are used. In barite ores, barite is the only or main useful component, the high content of barite requires the use of crushing and gravity separation.
Stratiform barite deposits, the main type of industry in foreign countries, are located in carbonate, carbonate-siliceous and siliceous-shale strata, developed in places such as passive continental margins and their continental slopes, activated blankets of «young» platforms and intraoceanic lifting outs.
Spheres of barite application
The spheres of barite application in the world are quite broad and varied. Most of the world's reserves of barite are used in gas and oil producing industry and geologic exploration, taking into account its physicochemical and cost factors. In 2006-2009 the consumption of white barite (Class «Blank Fixe») in the paint and coatings industry significantly increased.
- Gas and oil producing industry and geologic exploration – use it as a weighting agent in drilling fluids in deep and super-deep drilling.
- Cement industry – uses it to receive high sulfate resistant, heat-resistant and weighted backfill cements.
- Chemical industry – uses it to receive all barium-containing compounds, barium salts and products.
- Glass industry - uses it to produce special glasses. Barite glasses are very clean, transparent, and lustreous and have good optical properties.
- Metallurgy – uses it as the intensifier of the process for receiving ferroalloys, additives for smelting barium-containing alloys, as a flux in smelting brass and in aluminum industry in the production of pure aluminum oxide.
- Road construction - uses it as filler. Ground barite is used in a mixture with latex (6%) and hot asphalt (47%) as the upper coverings of air-strips and ordinary roads, it provides robust and flexible layer.
- Paint and coatings industry - uses it for the production of white pigment (lithopone), high-grade zinc (mixed with ZnO and ZnS), flake white and other paints, white burning products, tiles, etc., in high-grade enamels used in reactors for corrosion protection.
- Rubber-technical industry - uses it for the inert or slightly active filler.
- Asbestos-technical industry - uses it to produce friction materials.
- Nuclear industry - uses it for the shields for radiation protection: concrete material, comprising 80% of barite and 10% of iron oxides, being good protective material from gamma radiation. Being a part of the plaster for the walls of X-ray laboratories, it serves as the protection from the harmful effects of X-rays.
«A» class marks out all the trademarks, but "B" class - only three: CB-3, CB-5, and CB-6.
Barite concentrate of «A» class has a fairly wide range of applications, because the content of pure substance of barium sulfate is significantly higher than in the trademarks of «B» class (BaSO4). So barite concentrate of «A» class is used in chemical, paint and coatings, asbestos-technical and other industries; barite concentrate of «B» class is used in gas and oil producing industry and in exploration industry for preparing a weighting agent or a weighting agent for drilling fluids.
Physicochemical parameters of barite concentrate of «A» class should conform to the standards specified in Table.
Normalized quality data of barite concentrates of "A" class according to GOST 4682-84
|¹||Parameter||Standart of the mark|
|1||Fraction of total mass,% : BaSO4, min||95||92||92||87||85||80|
|2||Fraction of total mass,% : (SiO2), max||1,5||1,5||2,5||3,5||4,0||4,5|
|3||Fraction of total mass,% : (Fe2O3), max||0,5||1,0||1,5||2,0||2,5||2,5|
|4||Fraction of total mass calcium and magnesium in the count on the CaO,% :||0,5||1,0||1,5||6,0||7,0||7,0|
|5||Humidity in the dry production, %||2||2||2||2||2||2|
*Standards for indicators of sub-items 1-4 of Table are given on a dry basis.
**The supply of dried barite concentrates with humidity not more than 12% is permitted by agreement with the customer
Physicochemical parameters of barite concentrate of "B" class should conform to the standards specified in Table.
Normalized quality data of barite concentrates of "B" class according to GOST 4682-84
|¹||Parameter||Standart of the mark|
|1||Fraction of total mass,% : BaSO4, min||90||85||80|
|2||Fraction of total water-soluble materials, fraction of water-soluble calcium||0,35
|3||Humidity in the dry production, %||2||2||2|
|4||Particle Size Distribution, >0071Ê mkm, GOST 6613-86, %, max||6||6||6|
|5||Density, g/sm3, min||4,2||4,1||4,0|
|6||Fraction of total mass of 5 mkm, max||10||20||20|
|7||Fraction of total mass % brazil, min||6||6||6|
* Standards for indicators of sub-items 1-4 of Table are given on a dry basis.