The name barytes (also known as barite, heavy spar, bar, tiff and baryta) is derived from
the Greek word “baros” meaning “heavy”, referring to its most striking feature. Barytes is a
naturally occurring barium sulphate with a chemical formula BaSO4 (BaO 65.7% and SO3
34.3%). It is the most widespread anhydrous sulphate after anhydrite. In nature, barytes is
generally of hydrothermal origin and sometimes it also formed by leaching of barium
compounds from rocks. As an accessory mineral it is found in the sulphides of manganese,
iron and other metals. Barytes is also widespread in sedimentary rocks as concretions.
Barytes occurs both as veins and as bedded deposits, and mining is by both underground
and opencast methods. The world’s largest bedded barytes deposit occurs in Mangampet,
Cuddapah district, Andhra Pradesh, India. Of the total world production of 7.4 million tons in
2001, about 54% was accounted for by China alone. The other leading producers were India,
Morocco, USA, Iran and Mexico.

The important uses of barytes are:

  1. Oil-well drilling
  2. Paint
  3. Chemicals
  4. Barium metal recovery
  5. Glass
  6. Paper
  7. Rubber
  8. Coal washing
  9. Explosive
  10. Concrete aggregate
  11. Nuclear reactors and other radiation equipments
  12. Radiology
  13. Children’s toys
  14. Adhesives