Assessment of Beneficiation Process of a Nigerian Barite Source for Utilization as Oil Drilling Mud
The texture and size distribution of various species of gangue minerals affect the beneficiation of barite and lower the specific gravity of barite as-mined. About 9% of the barite used in the oil industry in Nigeria is imported, even though it is found in abundance in eight states of the country. This study has examined barite from deposits in Torkula, Benue State of Nigeria for application as oil drilling mud. Physico-chemical and rheological tests were conducted, specific gravity measurements were taken along with moisture content, hardness, gel strength, viscosity and yield point. Mineral samples collected were found to have SG ranging between 3.98 and 4.42, a pH of 8.015, moisture content of about 0.161% and a Mohr’s hardness of between 3.5 and 5.0. Slight beneficiation processes are required to completely refine the barite mineral from all the gangue minerals, and to meet the API, DPR standards for oil drilling.