Barite is the main ore of the element barium. It is also important in the manufacture of paper and rubber. Barite is also used in radiology for x-rays of the digestive system. When crushed it is added to mud to form barium mud which is poured into oil wells during drilling.
The early mining barite ore is mostly high-grade ore which is usually separated by the low-cost and low technical handpicking or gravity separation process. However with the low grade of barite ore and the complex ore properties magnetic separation flotation and combined barite mining processes have been widely used in barite mining.
Barite or Baryte (Ba S O > 4) is a natural mineral consisting of barium and sulfate. The mineral is abundant around the world but is rarely in economically high concentrations. Scotland has two known economical sources; Foss Mine and Duntanlich mine. The mineral characteristics of Barite are:
A barite "rosette" from Montreal Mine in Iron County Wis. where barite is found in veins and cavities associated with hydrothermal deposits of manganese minerals. The cluster is about 6 centimeters wide. Credit: Wisconsin Geological Survey