What is fluorspar?
Fluorspar is the commercial name for the naturally occurring mineral fluorite, composed of calcium and fluorine. Fluorspar is the predominant commercial source for the chemical element fluorine. Fluorine is a non-metallic element and the lightest of the halogens and therefore largely irreplaceable in its use. It is characterized by its fluorescence under ultraviolet light. There are two principal commercial grades of fluorspar: Metallurgical grade (60-96% CaF2) and acid grade (+97% CaF2).
Is fluorspar used in the manufacturing of Lithium-ION batteries?
Yes, fluorspar is used along with lithium, in the anode, cathode, and the electrolyte of Lithium-Ion Batteries (LIBs).
What applications does fluorspar have?
Fluorspar is widely used in industries such as metallurgy, chemicals, and ceramics due to its unique properties. Metallurgical grade fluorspar accounts for approximately 35-40% of total fluorspar production with the principal applications being: Steel production – used as a flux to lower the melting temperature and increase the chemical reactivity to help the absorption and removal of sulphur, phosphorus, carbon and other impurities in the slag Cement – used as a flux to speed up the calcination process and enables the kiln to operate at lower temperatures Acid grade fluorspar accounts for approximately 60-65% of total fluorspar production with the principal applications being: Aluminium production – used to produce aluminium fluoride (ALF3) which acts as a flux to lower the bath temperature in the manufacture of aluminium Manufacture of hydrofluoric acid (HF) – the primary source of all fluorochemicals (the single largest consumer of fluorspar).
Where is fluorspar produced and consumed?
The major producing regions are: - China (>50% of the world’s production) - Mexico - Mongolia/CIS - South Africa The major consuming regions are: - China - North America - Europe - Mexico - Russia
How much fluorspar is produced per year?
World production of fluorspar is approximately 5.7Mt – 6.0Mt per year.
Where does ARES mine Fluorspar?
Ares Strategic Mining conducts fluorspar mining operations in Utah, USA. We carefully select areas rich in fluorspar deposits to ensure a sustainable and efficient mining process.
How much does fluorspar cost?
Since the global financial crisis in 2009, there has been a contraction in acid-spar demand due to a combination of environmental legislation and demand - fluorspar prices have followed such trend. Acid grade fluorspar has historically commanded the highest price however the price gap between this and metallurgical grade fluorspar has reduced recently. In 2017 prices for acid-spar started to recover in China, with the export price for acid-spar (FOB China) – the traditional benchmark price – currently published as US$400-420/tonne. The equivalent price delivered into Europe (CIF Rotterdam), published as US$300-340/tonne, has started to recover following the FOB China price recovery.
What specific issues affect the fluorspar market?
There are no net exporters of fluorspar in Europe and all EU Member States are reliant on imports. China produces >50% of the world’s fluorspar. Chinese fluorspar exports have continued to decline with acid-spar exports decreasing since 2011 – internal demand and production/export restrictions. China may become a net importer in the future. China listed fluorspar as a strategic mineral in 2017. USA considers fluorspar as a Strategic Mineral. North America and Europe are the largest acid-spar consumers outside China, all net importers – a potential risk to long term security of supply. No large scale commercial alternative. Future demand for fluorspar will highly depend on the development and use of fluorocarbon substitutes. Industry view is that demand for acid-spar will increase by 4-5% per year over the next 5 years and prices are forecast to increase in the medium to long-term.
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