Vietnam has identified and assessed over 20 deposits and
occurrences of barytes deposits with total reserves of 6.213m.
tonnes. On the basis of distribution, mineralisation type and
ore quality of the deposits, it is possible divide the three
main prospective regions in Vietnam as north-east Bac Bo, north
Trung Bo and north-west Bac Bo (see map).
The countrys barytes deposits
occur mainly as three types: mono-mineralic barytes, barytes
with sulphur, and barytes with rare earth minerals and
fluorspar, of which the first type are widespread, accounting
for about 80% of the prospective areas.
North-east Bac Bo region
In the provinces of Tuyen Quang, Thai Nguyen, Cao Bang, Lang
Son and Bac Giang, deposits and occurrences of barytes have
been discovered, with some deposits in Tuyen Quang being
exploited at an industrial scale.
Elsewhere, provinces such as Phu
Tho and Lang Son have also seen small-scale barytes mining. The
north-east Bac Bo region - mainly the provinces of the
northern mountainous areas - was evaluated as
Vietnams best prospective region for barytes mineral
The Ao Sen deposit located in Son
Duong district, Tuyen Quang province, with a reserve of 393,580
tonnes, has been developed with a mining output of about 80,000
tpa consumed by the oilfield minerals and chemicals
Here, the barytes ore is mainly
concentrated in quartzite and sericite shale from the Early
Palaeozoic, and is of medium quality. The BaSO4
content varies from 48-65%, but if processed through the 200
mesh size the BaSO4 content is 80-89%. In quality,
the barytes of Ao Sen meets all requirements according to the
standards set out by the American Petroleum Institute
(API - see Table 1).
The analysis of the heavy metals,
carried out in the Baroid Laboratory (United Nations), showed
levels as: arsenic (As) 0.52 mg/kg, cadmium (Cd) 0.01mg/kg,
lead (Pb) 400 mg/kg, mercury (Hg) 0.13 mg/kg and zinc (Zn) 0.01
The content of Cd (0.01mg/kg) and Hg (0.13 mg/kg) is in
permissible limits (towards Cd as 3 mg/kg), and towards Hg as 1
mg/kg),thus consequently the use of the Ao Sen barytes in
drilling mud has no harmful effect on the marine environment,
or to workers mining and processing material at the
| Key barytes deposits in Vietnam
The deposit can be exploited by
open pit methods down to 50 metres with the coefficient of
ore-earth loading averaging 0.93 m3/ tonnes ore.
Out of prospected deposits in the
north-east Bac Bo region (see Table 4), in the period
between 2010 and 2015 Vietnams geological institute will
strengthen the exploration and prospecting work for newly
discovered deposits of large-scale reserves and high quality
ore in Cao Bang province, such as: Po Tau, Na Ke, Che Pen, Ban
Vai, and Ban Ram, with reserves attained anticipated to reach
800,000 tonnes of B + C1 (proven and probable), equivalent to
111 + 121 according to current the reserve resource ranking
North Trung Bo region
In the Thanh Hoa and Nghe An provinces, belonging to the North
Central region, there is a barytes mineralisation zone of about
60km in length and 15km in width, stretching from the west side
of Thanh Hoa to the coastal areas of Nghe An, arranged in the
North Truong Son mineralisation zone.
Barytes bodies are distributed
through the zone in north/south and north-west/south-east
orientations, crossing through volcanic sediments of Middle
Triassic age. Eleven deposits and occurrences of barytes have
been investigated and prospected preliminarily, of which five
deposits in the south zone belong to the mono-mineralic
(quartz-barytes) type - these being the Ky Chung, Ru Tram
and Ru Quanh (Son Thanh deposit), Dien Tho and Ru Bin
Deposits in the central part of the
zone belong to the sulphur-barytes (galena-quartz-barytes)
type - the Dien Lam, Nghia Lam and Bao Tre - while
three more deposits in the north of the zone belonging to the
sulphur-polymetallic barytes group (containing Ba, Si, Pb, Zn
and Hg), these are the Bao Khe, Xom Dang and Dong San
The north Trung Bo region also has
large barytes prospects, but compared with the north-east Bac
Bo region the ore quality is lower and requires more
processing - many of the deposits belong to the sulphur
The Son Thanh deposit (Yen Thanh
district, Nghe An province) has been evaluated as the most
prospective of the north Trung Bo barytes resources. The Son
Thanh barytes ore has a densely massive structure in
hydrothermal veins of quartz and barytes, in addition to other
minerals such as goethite and chalcopyrite.
Pyrites is disseminated in barytes
crystals or barytes is surrounded by iron hydroxide. The
content in crude ore consists of: BaSO4 at 50-53%;
Fe2O3 at 2.98% and SiO2 at
39.70%. Probable reserves are listed as 287,401 tonnes,
corresponding to 156,991 tonnes of barytes concentrate.
Ore processing trials have been
carried out on the Son Thanh barytes ore after flotation and
gravimetric flotation, giving the following results:
a) Flotation: Son Thanh barytes ore is relatively easy to
process via flotation by fat acid assemblage in an
b) Gravimetric flotation: Use of processing on washing
out table. Crude ore was treated to a size of 1.6mm and
separated after fractions of: 1-1.6; 0.63-1; 0.135-0.63;
0.063-0.315 and 0.063 mm.
As the Son Thanh barytes ore can be easily processed by
flotation (washing out), it is possible to gather a concentrate
of more than 90% BaSO4 content; but the ratio of
real recovery was 43%, with intermediary ore at 42%, and
BaSO4-bearing discarded ore high at 28.5%.
| The late Bob Boyle, of Global Baroid Fluid
Services, with barytes workers in Vietnam (see
IM October 2009, p.27). The Barytes
To obtain a concentrate of more
than 90% BaSO4 content, it is possible use the two
methods of flotation and gravimetric flotation together.
Flotation is easy to use because of the simple processing
flowsheet, and the concentrate attained has a high
BaSO4 content (real recovery of 95%).
Besides the favourable exploitation
setting - such as mineral bodies distributed in low hills
and plains - Son Thanh also has favourable infrastructure
for mining, such as roads, communication systems, and
North-west Bac Bo region
In the north-west region, deposits of barytes associated with
rare earths have been found. Six deposits were discovered, of
which only the deposits in Nam Xe and Dong Pao, Lai Chau
province, have large reserves.
Here, the mineral composition is
very complicated, consisting of bastnaesite, magnetite,
uranopyrochylorite, pyrites, galena, apatite, fluorite and
barytes, of which barytes usually accounts for 30%. Although
there are large reserves, the barytes resource has usually been
considered as an auxiliary product - secondary to the
exploitation and processing of rare earths ore.
At the Dong Pao deposit (Phong Tho
district, Lai Chau) the deposit consists of more than 60 ore
veins of different sizes, in which there are eight main veins
totalling 400-1,000 metres in length and more than 100 metres
wide. Besides these, there are other major veins more than 200
metres long and 30 metres wide, in addition to a number of
smaller veins and nests of ore.
| Global barytes production and consumption
Ore from the Dong Pao deposit belongs to fluoro-carbonate
group, containing bastnaesite, fluorite and barytes minerals,
of which barytes and fluorite are the main composition. It is
possible to separate the area into three ore types:
Barytes ore (common): has barytes content from 30-50%, in
some places up to 80%, usually found as distinct veins;
Fluorite-barytes ore, of which barytes comprises 10-60%,
and fluorite comprises 5-70%;
Fluorite with associated barytes, of which fluorite
The deposit has large-scale probable reserves - 2.9m.
tonnes of barytes and 1m. tonnes of fluorite - and is the
largest barytes-rare earth-fluorite deposit in Vietnam.
| Table 1: Estimation of Ao Sen barytes after API
| Table 2: Flotation result of Son Thanh barytes
| Table 3: Gravimetric flotation result of
Son Thanh barytes ore
Elsewhere, in the north-west Bac Bo
region along the Song Da river, barytes ore was recently
discovered in the Hoa Binh province. Barytes deposits also
occur in the south-west Mun mountain of Luong Son district, 70
km west of Hanoi.
Barytes ores belonging to barytes
sulphide formation include two types of mineralisation: a)
barytes-sulphite, and b) barytes-quartz-sulphide. The ores are
white, grey-white, pinkish white, and sometimes brownish in
colour, with plate shape texture and compacted mass
The BaSO4 content ranges
from 90-95%, sometimes reaching 98% (ore body no. 1, average
thickness of 4 metres), with Fe2O3
content ranging 0.2-1.5%, BaCO3 content at 2-2.5%
and other elements in low amounts including Be, Fe, Ti, Cu, Pb,
Sr, Mg, Al and Mn.
The specific gravity of barytes ore
is more than 4.0 g/cm3 - usually 4.2-4.4
g/cm3 - which is ideal for use in the oilfield
minerals market. Barytes ore in Hoa Binh province is
distributed over a wide scale and exploitation conditions are
rather favourable - the deposit is prospective.
Barytes exploration plan to 2025
At present, the exploitation and production of barytes
concentrate totals about 120,000 tpa, mainly for the oil
drilling and chemicals industries. Approximately 8,000 tonnes
have been supplied to the domestic market for manufacturing
drilling mud in south shelf region.
| Barytes end markets (8.5m. tonnes)
A large amount of barytes (over
100,000 tonnes) is exported to many regions including Asia
(Malaysia, Thailand), the Middle East, and South America
A plan for the exploitation and processing of barytes in
Vietnam has been established, with the following targets -
Investment for enlargement of the Bac Giang barytes
production enterprise; exploitation of the Lang Cao
deposit in Bac Giang province with production of 10,000
Construction of a barytes processing plant in Cao Bang
province with a capacity of 50,000 tpa, with supply
sourced from Che Pen, Na Ke, Ban Vai - Ban Ran deposits
(Cao Bang province);
Construction, improvement and enlargement of the Bao Tre
(Thanh Hoa province) and Son Thanh (Nghe An) deposits,
raising the capacity of each mine from 1,500 to 2,500
Construction investment in the Dong Pao and Na Cua (Lai
Chau province) barytes processing plants, where total
capacity of barytes concentrate is about 41,500 to 42,000
tpa, in addition to a general project for the
exploitation of Lai Chaus rare
Period from 2016 to 2025:
Increasing extraction with production reaching
300,000-350,000 tpa of barytes ores;
Investment in Lai Chaus high value barytes
processing, increasing capacity from 5,000 to 10,000 tpa.
|Table 4: Vietnams barytes ore reserve to
| * Ranking system of reserve resource has been
in application since 2006
Up to now over 20 deposits and occurrences of barytes ores have
been found in Vietnam, with total reserves of 6.213m. tonnes.
Although more exploration work will need to be undertaken on
the deposits already highlighted, it is clear that Vietnam has
a large potential resource of barytes ore.
Looking at distribution, type of
mineralisation and ore quality in deposits, it is possible to
divide three prospective regions - of which the north-east
region of Bac Bo, chiefly in Tuyen Quang and Cao Bang
provinces, is the most prospective.
The quality of Vietnams
barytes meets the requirements of domestic markets and
been exported to many countries in the world. Vietnams
barytes products satisfy the API standards for drilling mud in
the oil and gas industry. In addition, the content of heavy
metals such as Cd and Hg is very low, and poses no harm to
human health and the environment. Although only some deposits
have been put into production, their economic value is
Currently, barytes produced in Vietnam is chiefly used for
drilling muds. To increase the economic worth of the deposits,
foreign investments need to investigate other key markets for
the countrys production. Hence, investments need to focus
the scale of reserves and research into processing technologies
to enrich and enhance the ore.Contributor: Dr Tran Kim Phuong,
Vietnam Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources, Thanh Xuan,
Ha Noi, Vietnam.
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The industrial Minerals Handybook, 4th ed, p. 28-34,
Nguyen Van Quy. 1997. The
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Economy and Mineral Raw Material, 4, p. 22-25, Ha Noi.
Pham Minh Nam. 2000.
Characteristics of geology and barytes mineralization in
Yen Quang commune, Luong Son district, Hoa Binh province.
Proceedings of scientific works, 31, Septme University of
Mining - Geology, Ha Noi.
Phung Duc Do & Nguyen Thi
Phuong. 1987. Processing research of the Son Thanh (Nghe -
Tinh) barytes ore. Journal of Chemical Industry, 85, Ha
Tran Xuan Dzuc & Nguyen Van
Tung. 1986. Mineralization of barytes in the North Truong
Son region. Proceedings 1st Conference on geology of
Indochina, Ho Chi Minh City, Geological Department of Vietnam,
Truong Bien & Nguyen Van Bot. 1998. Some
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