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Fluorite: the Source of Fluorochemical Industry

Views: 10     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2023-03-20      Origin: Site

Fluorite (CaF2), formerly known as fluorite, is one of the minerals with the highest fluorine content in nature and is also an important raw material for the fluorine chemical industry. It is not only used in traditional fields such as metallurgy, building materials, and optical industry, but also increasingly widely used in strategic emerging industries such as new energy, new materials, medicine, and national defense. As a rare non renewable resource, fluorite has been listed as a strategic or key mineral in China, the United States, the European Union, and other countries or regions.

Fluorite minerals are widely used in various fields. In addition to traditional fields such as steel, electrolytic aluminum, and cement, fluorite accounts for up to 52% of the consumption in the fluorine chemical industry. Its end products can be used in high-tech industries such as semiconductor, refrigerant, new materials, and lithium battery manufacturing. Benefiting from the vigorous development of China's fluorine chemical industry, it is expected that the demand for fluorite in the fluorine chemical industry will continue to increase in the future. Fluorite

1.1. Global reserves of fluorite are limited and unevenly distributed

As an important non renewable resource, fluorite has limited reserves worldwide. Currently, the global identified reserves of fluorite resources are about 320 million tons, with Mexico, China, South Africa, and Mongolia among the top four countries in the world in fluorite reserves; In 2020, the global output of fluorite resources is approximately 8.24 million tons, of which China is the world's largest fluorite producer, with fluorite production reaching 65.53% of the world's total output.

The distribution of fluorite resources is uneven worldwide. According to the survey data of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), as of 2020, there are more than 40 countries in the world distributing fluorite deposits with industrial value. From the perspective of regional distribution, the world's fluorite deposits are mainly distributed in the Pacific Rim metallogenic belt. According to USGS estimates, the reserves of fluorite in the Pacific Rim metallogenic belt account for more than 50% of the total reserves of fluorite in the world. Countries with relatively rich reserves mainly include Mexico, China, South Africa, and Mongolia, with reserves accounting for 21.25%, 13.13%, 12.81%, and 6.88%, respectively. Due to the uneven distribution of fluorite resources, the world's fluorite production is also highly concentrated in some countries with abundant fluorite resources. According to the statistical data of MINERAL COMMODITY SUMMARIES 2022 from the United States Geological Survey, developing countries with relatively rich resource reserves, such as China, South Africa, Mexico, and Mongolia, are the main producers of fluorite resources in the world. In 2020, the total supply of the four countries accounted for 89% of the market share, with China ranking first in the world in fluorite supply, reaching over 65% of the world's total output.

The reserve production ratio of fluorite resources in China is far below the global average. In 2020, China's fluorite reserves accounted for only 13.13% of the world's total reserves, while the production accounted for about 65%. Currently, the storage and production ratio of fluorite resources in China is only 7.78, far below the world average of 38.83. The imbalance between storage and production has seriously affected the sustainable development of the fluorite industry in China. Currently, there is a problem of "low reserves and high production" in the exploitation of fluorite resources in China, which is mainly caused by the relatively strong consumption demand for fluorite in China. With years of mining, China's high-quality and easily utilized fluorite resources are rapidly decreasing, and fluorite is gradually transforming from a dominant resource into a scarce resource.

1.2. China is the world's largest fluorite producer, occupying a raw material advantage

As the world's largest fluorite producer, China's fluorite trade has an important position in the international arena. Since 2016, China's import of fluorite has grown rapidly, while its export has generally shown a downward trend. In 2018, China's fluorite import volume increased by 417.5% year-on-year, surpassing the export volume for the first time, and the fluorite resource changed from net export minerals to net import minerals.

The import and export trade of fluorite minerals in China is mainly concentrated in Asia. In terms of export trade, currently, China's fluorite ore export trade regions are mostly concentrated in Asia and Europe in the northern hemisphere, with the top three exporting countries accounting for 25% of Japan, 24% of Indonesia, and 16% of South Korea. In terms of import trade, countries such as Mongolia and Mexico are the main sources of imports of fluorite resources in China, with the top three importing countries and their respective proportions being 71% in Mongolia, 10% in South Africa, and 7% in Mexico. Importing a large number of high-quality and low-cost fluorite raw ores from these regions can effectively reduce the production costs of domestic fluorite chemical enterprises, while also avoiding the environmental costs generated during fluorite mining.

Fluorite ore is a high-quality mineral resource in China, and fluorite deposits are widely distributed in China. Compared with fluorite minerals in other regions of the world, China's fluorite resources have a high mining value due to their low impurity content and better mining conditions. China's fluorite minerals occupy a pivotal position in the global fluorite resources.

The existing fluorite mining areas are mainly distributed in Zhejiang, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangxi, Inner Mongolia, Henan, and other regions; Fluorite downstream product processing enterprises are mainly located in central and western Zhejiang, southern Jiangsu, western Fujian, northern Henan, and eastern Shandong.

With the introduction of relevant policies, the mining conditions of fluorite minerals in China are becoming increasingly strict. In recent years, with the implementation of the transformation and upgrading of the industrial structure, policies, laws and regulations related to ecological environment protection, taxation, production safety, and other aspects closely related to mineral resources mining have been introduced, and the intensity of supervision has also been continuously strengthened. Some small enterprises that fail to meet the standards in environmental protection, safety, and other aspects will also be gradually closed down. The problem of "small and scattered" fluorite mining enterprises will be greatly improved. However, the further implementation and improvement of future laws and regulations may lead to a contraction of China's fluorite industry. It is expected that China's fluorite import volume will continue to increase in the future, and the industry concentration will further strengthen.


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