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state_celestite_sm.jpg (11767 bytes)Celestite (strontium sulfate, SrSO4) is the only mineral used for the production of strontium carbonate and other strontium compounds.

World production is about 245 000 tpa (2013) with Chile accounting for about 40%.


  • The main uses of strontium compounds are in colour television picture tubes and computer monitors, which contain ~8% by weight strontium oxide (SrO) to absorb X-rays and improve the brilliance of the glass.
  • Strontium ferrite is used in producing permanent ceramic magnets.
  • Strontium burns with a brilliant red flame, and is used in fireworks, marine flares and tracer ammunition.

Celestite in South Australia

celestite_sa.jpg (9631 bytes)
Samples of South Australian celestite.

Celestite is widely distributed in the far north of South Australia as thin veins and aggregates in Cretaceous marine sediments of the Eromanga Basin, as cement in Quaternary sandstone, nodules and crystals in Holocene clays, and as detrital nodules and crystals in modern drainage channels.

Most of these occurrences are too small to be of economic significance.

The only commercial production has been from shallow workings at Wooldridge Creek, 40 km northwest of Oodnadatta, where irregular patches several metres across contain celestite veins up to 0.2 m thick within the Cretaceous Wooldridge Limestone Member of the Oodnadatta Formation.

A total of 113 t was mined for munitions manufacture; seven tonnes in 1929 and 106 t in 1941–42.

Additional reading

Olliver, J.G. and Barnes, L.C., 1990. Celestite in South Australia: a review of production, use, tenure and geology. South Australia. Department of Mines and Energy. Report Book, 90/70.