Barite is an important industrial mineral used as a weighing agent in fluids during the drilling of oil and natural gas wells, with the majority of United States production originating from Nevada. This paper considers three barite properties at varying stages of development—Rossi, Heavy Spar, and Ann—all located within the northern Nevada barite belt. At all three sites, barite is hosted in the Roberts Mountains allochthon consisting of siliceous sedimentary rocks. Geochemical characterization of waste rock, ore, and process products has been undertaken as part of project development at each site, including 212 acid-base accounting (ABA) analysis and 19 humidity-cell tests operated for up to 114 weeks. This study demonstrates that the presence of barite greatly limits the application of using traditional Sobek-style ABA methods. Barite will undergo incomplete dissolution and extraction in the ABA tests that will result in an overprediction of acid generation for materials that contain barite (i.e., ore and jig by-products). Results indicate use of the net acid generation test to inform waste rock management represents a more reliable indicator of acid generation for these three deposits and potentially also other barite deposits. Potential barite mine sites should continue to be evaluated using the same geochemical testing tools as base metal mines but using those tools in a selective way to achieve balance between regulatory requirements and costs.

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