The global market for Fluorspar is projected to reach nearly 7.4 million metric tons by 2024, driven by increasing demand for Hydrofluoric Acid, as well as revival of steel and aluminum markets.
Fluorspar or fluorite, a common name for calcium fluorite, is an extremely important mineral used in a plethora of industrial applications. Being the major source of element fluorine, fluorspar has been classified as critical raw material by the European Commission and as a strategic mineral by the United States. Acidspar or Acid grade fluorspar is used in manufacturing hydrofluoric acid that is in turn used as feedstock for manufacturing fluorine containing compounds including fluoropolymers and fluorocarbons. Metspar or metallurgical grade fluorspar is used in the production of steel, while a small proportion is used in the production of enamels and opaque glasses. Acidspar is used in a range of applications including production of fluorocarbons, in refrigeration, air conditioning, as a precursor to fluoropolymers and elastomers; and as an important catalyst for use in petroleum alkylation.
Fluorspar, a key commodity for developed countries, is a largely irreplaceable mineral. The importance of Fluorspar is underscored by the listing of the mineral among the top five key minerals in the US, and its figuring in the list of key raw materials identified by the European Commission, and as a strategic mineral by China recently. The global fluorspar demand is projected to grow at a steady pace through the analysis period, although some applications are likely to face immediate challenges due to environmental legislations. The new fluorspar production capacity and expansions projects are anticipated to boost supply in the near future in order to meet the growing consumption levels.
Production cuts in China, owing to new environmental laws for both fluorite mining as well as downstream industries has resulted in significant stress on global supply, leading to higher prices for the mineral. In addition, environmental regulations in China have resulted in increased production costs for miners, negating the export advantage. With China, the largest producer and consumer of Fluorite expected to emerge as a net importer in the near future, new mines are being developed across the world. Even the US, which is virtually 100% import dependent, is witnessing interest in mining activity. Other developed regions witnessing such activity include Canada, the UK, and Sweden among others. Among developing markets South Africa, with its huge reserves, is embarking on steps to replace supply deficiency from China.
Asia-Pacific represents the largest as well as the fastest growing market worldwide with a CAGR of 4.9% over the analysis period. With dramatic population expansion, increased urbanization, robust pace of industrialization, infrastructure development and GDP growth, Asia-Pacific continues to be a lucrative arena for extensive application of fluorspar. The region has also emerged as a significant producer of various downstream products. Growth in the Fluorite market is being driven by all the major applications including Hydrofluoric Acid Production, Aluminum Production, and Steel Production. Hydrofluoric Acid Production, the major end-use application for Fluorspar is expected to retain its dominance over the forecast period owing to emergence of new applications such as Li-ion batteries.
Major players in the market include British Fluorspar Ltd., China Kings Resources Group Co., Ltd., China Shen Zhou Mining & Resources, Inc., Jianyang Shanshui Chemicals Industry CORP., Ltd., Mexichem Fluor S.A. de C.V., Minersa Minerales Y Productos Derivados S.A., Mongolrostsvetmet LLC, Prima Fluorspar Corp., Prima Fluorspar Corp., Seaforth Mineral & Ore Co., Sinochem Lantian Co., Ltd., Zhejiang Sanmei Chemical Incorporated Company, Zhejiang Wuyi XinJiaLi Industry & Trade Co., Ltd., and Zhejiang Yipeng Chemical Co., Ltd. among others.