What is Fluorspar?

Fluorspar market

Have you heard of Fluorspar?
Fluorspar or Fluoride is found naturally at the earth’s surface in areas where there have been recent volcanic eruptions or other ground-level sources of hydrothermal fluids. It often takes on green, purple or blue pastel colorations due its iron content.
The presence of fluorite in an area can show whether it has undergone any geological changes. More recent land layers will not contain any fluorspar if they were created after fluorite was dissolved and washed away by acidic waters of oceans, rivers, lakes, soda springs.
 
The beautiful purple hue that it gives make it an attractive mineral for art. People who live in these places may use fluorites for decorative objects without knowing what it actually is; however professionals know exactly what to expect when they find this mineral in nature. Focusing on fluorescent minerals with strong fluorescent properties could be one way geologists identify new deposits.

Three companies, Ares Strategic Mining (TSX.v: ARS), Commerce Resources (TSX.v: CCE) and Saville Resources (TSX.v: SRE) feature fluorspar or fluorite in their commodity profiles.

But what exactly is it?  What is the market for it, and why is it getting so much attention as of late?

Fluorspar (also called fluorite) is the mineral form of calcium fluoride, CaF2. An important industrial mineral, it’s considered a critical mineral by the European Union and the United States. It is an essential raw material to the steel, aluminum, and chemical industries in two marketable products: acid-spar grade and met-spar grade.

Critical minerals are metals and non-metals that are considered vital for the economic well-being of the world’s major and emerging economies, yet whose supply may be at risk due to geological scarcity, geopolitical issues, trade policy or other factors.

Much of fluorspar’s entire demand is dominated by the chemical industry and the market size is expected to increase until 2029 as mentioned in this report from Roskill. The price has increased over 500% in the past 20 years likely due to the fact that it cannot be recycled and must be continuously mined.

Fluorspar

  Fluorspar or fluorite 

Met-spar (>60% CaF2)

Accounting for roughly 40% of the global fluorspar market, met-spar is primarily used as a flux in the steel making process to lower the melting temperature. It’s also used to reduce slag viscosity, and remove impurities.

Acid-spar (>97% CaF2)

Accounting for roughly 60% of the market, acid-spar is primarily used to synthesize hydrofluoric acid (HF). Additionally, fluorspar is used to make fluorochemicals, and in the production of aluminum metal, to reduce process temperatures and energy consumption. It is also a key raw ingredient of materials used in enhancing the performance of lithium-ion batteries.

In the last three years, China has become a net importer of fluorspar, mainly because Chinese industrial users consume most of China’s domestic production for steel production.

This has caused significant price appreciation, and market interest from the industry in new sources, such as Ares Strategic Mining’s Lost Sheep mine in Utah (which is the only permitted & producing mine in the US), Commerce Resources’ Ashram Rare Earth & Fluorspar Deposit, and Saville Resource’s Mallard Prospect at the Niobium Claim Group, the last two projects being located in northern Quebec.

Investing

Many companies, like the ones mentioned above are currently exploring for fluorspar and the oppportunity for the investor lies in the potential of a large discovery. These companies trade on the public markets and often will be on-hand to ask any questions you may have about their company, so feel free to reach out!

As Jackson Brown said, “Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity”. So keep looking for yours!

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  1. […] fluorspar as a Critical Mineral, “deemed critical to U.S. national security and the economy”. Fluorspar remains the only non-metallic Critical Mineral which is 100% imported in the entire country. This […]

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