DORFNER Analysenzentrum und Anlagenplanungsgesellschaft mbH
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Fluorspar, TEFLON, DuPont, Fluoropolymers CaF2, coolants, refrigeration, air conditioning, fabrication of fiberglass insulation, flint glass, opal glass, enamels

Fluorspar

Fluorspar (CaF2) is the most important source of fluorine forming the base of a large number of high value industrial applications. Fluorspar has been declared one of the critical minerals by the EU, with fluorine being indispensable in most of its applications.

Major applications include coolants for refrigeration and air conditioning as well as in the production of highly insulating polymers such as polyurethane and polystyrene.
Fluoropolymers such as DuPont’s well known TEFLON® or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) possess unique properties like superior insulation, fire resistance, mechanical strength, low surface tension and high resistance against chemical attack.

Three main commercial grades of fluorspar are distinguished: metallurgical grade (75-82% CaF2), ceramic grade (94-96% CaF2) and acid grade (97% CaF2).

Metallurgical grade fluorspar (metspar) representing almost one third of world production volume is used in the manufacturing of aluminium and stainless steel, in extraction of metals such as niobium and tantalum, in metal processing to remove unwanted impurities and in various other applications.

Ceramic grade fluorspar is used in the fabrication of fiberglass insulation, flint glass, opal glass and enamels. Another prominent use for fluorspar or fluorspar mixtures is as a coating for welding rods and in the production of magnesium and calcium metals.

Acid grade fluorspar (acidspar) is the highest valued and economically most important one (two thirds of world production volume) since it is used as a feedstock for the production of HF, principal base for the production of fluorocarbons and -polymers.

China, one of the four main fluorspar producing countries accounting for approximately 60% of world production, is increasingly using its fluorspar resources for its own production restricting raw material exports and applying resource taxes.
The fluorspar market experienced price increases since 2000, the price of acidspar more than doubled. Annual growth rates for basic uses such as catalysts, glasses and ceramics, fluorine gas and steel manufacture will be around 4% those for fluorochemicals are expected to be much higher.

Above developments have stimulated an interest in the exploration and development of new fluorspar deposits with a number of projects coming up.

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