Technical Assessment of Mining Site and Barite Quality in Nigeria
Barite is an exceptional non-metallic mineral composed of barium sulphate and it is used mainly by the oil and gas industry as drilling mud in deep drilling, where high pressure is encountered. The specific gravity of barite should range from 4.2 to 4.6 in order to be used as drilling mud. In Nigeria, barite deposits are found in veins and cavities hosted by varieties of rocks. In this work, barite deposits in various troughs of Nigeria have been sampled and analysed for the purpose of assessing their chemical composition and industrial quality. The specific gravity of barites in the following states, coded as: A (Zamfara), B (Nasarawa), C (Benue), D (Plateau), E (Cross River) and G (Taraba), were determined using the Pycnometer method, and their values were found to range from 2.9 to 4.3. The sedimentation process showed that the particle size distribution of the barite samples were good for drilling-mud application. The results of XRF and SEM analysis of the samples showed a predominance of BaO, Fe 2 O 3 and SiO 2 . Samples C and G met the API standard for drilling mud, while samples E, B and D need to beneficiated to be comparable to commercial barite for drilling mud.