Barite is barium sulfate with the chemical formula of BaSO4. Unlike barite witherite (BaCO3) it is not chemically inert, it can dissolve in water and, when dissolved, can cause an environmental hazard. Barite forms in many geologic environments with both metallic and nonmetallic minerals. Minerals associated with the ore are a main concern when mining and processing barite. In many barite deposits, silica is present,if the level of SiO2 is high enough with prolong exposure to particle size of less 10 µm pose a health hazard, and the ore must be handled so as to reduce the respirable silica level. If unoxidized minerals such as pyrite are present with the barite, acidicrunoff could result from ground-water or storm water content. The runoff may also leach additional minerals from the ore, resulting in high minerals concentration. Both the runoff of this water as well as the accumulation of this water in mining pits is of possible environmental concern. These issues must be addressed within the context of the environmental requirements in place in the jurisdiction within which the mining occurs.This paper is aimed at characterizing Barite from Bukkuyum local government area of Zamfara state of Nigeria, using Empyrean diffractometer DY 674 (2010) for XRD phase analysis of the powdered sample. The peaks generated match those of a BaSO4 in ICDD PDF 2 (2010) database. Minipal 4 energy dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) provided the elemental analysis in their oxides, with SiO2 of 4.55% content and 19.5% of SO3 that could be the source of silicosis and acidic runoff, respectively, that are of health and environmental concern. The SEM provided the photomicrograph picture with the fiber histogram giving the statistics of particle size of 2.19, 8.73 and 20.70µm, allwith the objective of giving adequate information of the environmental hazards associated with its exploration base on the findings of these characteristics.
Key words: Characteristics, barite, exploration, environmental, health, hazard.
Abbreviations: OSHA,Occupational safety and health administration; PDF,powder diffraction file; XRF, X-ray fluorescence; SEM, scanning electron microscope.