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Mineral Monday: Barium

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You might not realise it, but without certain minerals many of the everyday items you take for granted wouldn’t exist. Cars, pens, tools, TVs, mobile phones and millions of other items depend on minerals to function.

As a leading global recruiter of technical staff for the mining and minerals industry we are paying homage to those minerals that make our world work. Every ‘Mineral Monday’ we’ll take a look at a mineral and its common uses.

Our first Mineral Monday looks at Barium; a soft, silvery-white metal which has several industrial and medical applications.

Where is it produced / mined?

First identified in the early nineteenth century, Barium is largely mined in China, India, Morocco, the US, Turkey, Iran and Kazakhstan.

Did you know?

• Barium sulfate is commonly used as a drilling fluid in oil and gas wells.
• A “Barium Milkshake” is consumed by patients undergoing x-ray imaging of the digestive system.
• Barium carbonate is used in glassmaking as it increases the luster of glass.
• Barium peroxide can be used as a catalyst to start an aluminothermic reaction when welding rail tracks together.
• As an alloy with nickel for spark plugs.

So a big thank you to Barium for being the mineral that helps us to x-ray our digestive tracts, drill for oil, weld rail tracks, create lustrous glass and make spark plugs possible!

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