Baryte, also known as heavy spar, is chemically speaking barium sulphate Ba(SO4). With a specific weight of 4.5 g/cm³ it is significantly heavier than normal rock, hence the name. Barite normally occurs in the rock as a coarse, white vein, especially in polymetallic deposits it is found in the fissures along with fluorspar. So it is formed from hydrothermal solutions, but also sediment-exhalative, especially where barium- and sulfate-rich solutions mix. Barytes sometimes show a yellowish, orange or pink fluorescence under UV light.
Originally barite was considered to be waste rock and was either filled in the mine or deposited on spoil heaps. Only in the 20th century did baryte attain an economic value. It is used among other things:
Some mines which were originally mined for ore, especially polymetallic ores, are now mined for both the ore and the former waste material baryte and fluorite. In total they operate profitable again. There are also some examples where spoil heaps are mined for baryte. Baryte is currently mined in: