Barite is often associated with quartz, calcite, dolomite, fluorite, rhodochrosite, manganite, pyrite, galena, sphalerite, etc. It is also a common lode mineral in metal deposits of lead, zinc, gold, silver, and rare earth. Therefore, the mineral processing methods of barite are determined by the type of deposit, mineral composition, and the characteristics of barite and veinstone phases. The main processing methods of barite are hand sorting, gravity separation, magnetic separation, flotation, and combined methods.
Hand sorting is selecting high-grade ore manually based on the color and shape of the barite ore. This method is suitable for picking barite with high grade, simple composition, and stable quality.
Small mines often use this method because it is easy to implement and doesn’t require high equipment mechanization. However, it demands high labor intensity and can cause low production efficiency and waste of resources.
Different minerals with large differences in density can be separated by the gravity separation method. The density of barite is 4.5g/cm3, which is much larger than other common lode minerals (such as quartz 2.65g/cm3, and calcite 2.6g/cm3). Therefore, this method can be used to separate barite from other lode minerals.
The equipment for gravity separation should be selected according to the size of the ore particle size. Coarse-particle (-5 + 0.45mm) ore can apply the jigging method, while fine-particle (-0.45mm) ore can apply the shaking bed or spiral chute method. Some flotation tailings and barite-fluorite-associated ore can be recovered using this method.
The gravity separation method has the advantages of simple equipment requirements, good stability, no mineral processing chemicals, low cost, and less pollution. But it also has disadvantages like large equipment footprint, difficulty to recover fine-particle ore, and low recovery rate. Therefore, it is difficult to recover barite resources efficiently with a single gravity separation method. Further recovery needs a combination of magnetic separation or flotation methods.
When there is a significant difference in the magnetic properties of minerals, the magnetic separation method can be used to separate them. Barite is a non-magnetic mineral. When magnetic minerals (such as iron oxides) are the main lode minerals, magnetic separation can be used to separate barite and these lode minerals. The resulting products will have a high BaSO4 content. Magnetic separation is commonly used to separate magnetic pyrite, magnetite, limonite, and hematite.
This method has the advantages of high production efficiency, low energy consumption, and low pollution. But the disadvantage is that it is difficult to deal with fine-particle ore, and can not separate non-magnetic minerals. Therefore, it is difficult to obtain high-quality ore concentrate by single magnetic separation. Processing methods combined with gravity separation or flotation are generally necessary.
Flotation is an important way to deal with barite resources that are difficult to process such as low-grade ores, associated ores, and tailings. This method is well adapted to barite ores with complex embedding types and is also an effective way to recover tiny ore particles. The flotation method is divided into positive flotation and reverse flotation.
Positive flotation usually uses fatty acids as the trapping agent to process barite ore, and sodium silicate is used to suppress lode minerals like fluorite, quartz, and calcite to recover barite under weak alkaline (pH 8-9) conditions. In addition, the combined application between different flotation equipment facilitates the recovery of barite from complex polymetallic ores.
Reverse flotation usually means the flotation of sulfides or other easily floatable minerals and suppressing barite, with the final tailings being barite concentrate. When fine-grained silicate minerals, calcite, and quartz exist in the feed ore, reverse flotation can effectively remove the fine-grained lode minerals and obtain high-quality barite concentrate. In addition, as barite is often associated with fluorite and the floatability of fluorite is better than barite, mixed flotation combined with reverse flotation is often used to recover barite, i.e., mixed flotation of barite and fluorite first, and then reverse flotation of barite in the mixed concentrate.
For the associated ore, flotation tailings, and ore that contain complex embedding minerals, the use of a single gravity separation or magnetic separation method is not ideal. Thus, we need combined methods to recover barite efficiently. Common combined methods are: flotation – gravity separation, gravity separation – magnetic separation, magnetic separation – flotation, and magnetic separation – gravity separation – flotation.
Hoyonn Natural Barium Sulphate – Barite Powder from High-Grade Ore
Hoyonn Natural Barium Sulphate Series are made from high-grade barite ore that is processed with strict and environmentally friendly separation techniques. We have been in barium sulphate industry for 21 years, and our barite powder is sold to worldwide customers from coatings, plastics and more polymer industries. Learn more details about our different barite models, or contact us for advice to find your ideal fit.