Barite is the natural mineral form of barium sulfate. Its main properties are:
- Natural product;
- Inert – chemically and physically non-reactive; and to ecosystems;
- High specific gravity;
- Good sound damping and radiation protection;
- Low oil absorption
It is extracted by both surface and underground mining, followed by simple physical processing methods to generate particle-sized products suitable for removal of some foreign materials. About 70% of Barite consumption worldwide is used as a weighting agent for drilling fluids in oil and gas exploration. Its other uses are in value-added applications, which include cars, electronics, TV screens, rubber, glass ceramics, paint industry, radiation protection and medical applications (meals with barium).
Barite is marketed in a variety of forms and the price depends on the amount of processing; its applications; whiteness, brightness and color. Because it is a natural and environmentally friendly product, Barite is not subject to registration under EU REACH regulations. There is a replacement potential, but alternates in the oil industry (e.g. hematite) are economically less attractive. Limestones or clays are cheaper alternatives and sometimes used in certain applications where demands for quality or techniques are less stringent.
World production is largely linked to oil well drilling activity. In the early 2000s, it was around 6.0 to 6.5 Mtpa. There was a gradual increase over the years and in 2014 production reached 9.7 Mtpa. In 2015, there was a drop to 8 Mtpa, and in 2016 to 7.3 Mtpa (result of low oil prices and reduced drilling activities). In 2017, there was a recovery of the indexes to a preliminary estimate of 8.7 Mtpa. China accounted for 42% of world production and the sum of production from India, Morocco, USA, Mexico, Iran, Turkey, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Thailand accounted for about 50%. The U.S. was the largest consumer (about 2.6 Mtpa in 2017). China consumed about 1.6 Mtpa. Consumption in Europe (including Norway and Turkey) is around 0.65 Mtpa, of which 72% are obtained domestically. About 70% of production is destined to the value-added market, so a significant proportion is exported. On the other hand, there is also a considerable demand from the oil well industry that ends up causing the import of the mineral. Germany, Bulgaria, and the United Kingdom account for more than 90% of production.
Installed Capacity: 100,000 tons per year
Products: Barite and Mineral Additives
Address: ROD BR 101 (Area), W/O No. | KM 278
Carapina | Serra/ES | Brazil