Fluorine Forum 2022 concerned about future fluorspar supply

Fluorine Forum 2022 concerned about future fluorspar supply

Last week, fluorine (and fluorspar) market participants met in Hanoi, Vietnam, for Fluorine Forum 2022.  Project Blue presented a global fluorspar supply overview alongside changes and challenges facing the industry.

Blue View

The first day of the forum was split into three sessions, with session one dedicated to an overview of the domestic acidspar market in Vietnam, which is forecast to increase supply over the medium term. This session continued with a global fluorspar overview in which demand and supply were forecasted to tighten even further as acidspar demand is expected to drive growth over the next decade at a CAGR of over 20% in the lithium-ion battery sector alone. Further demand growth for acidspar is expected in the hydrofluoric acid (HF) processing of natural flake graphite used in the lithium-ion battery anode. There was a shared concern by the forum as to how this forecasted demand will be met given current fluorspar production. The second session was focussed on sustainable fluorspar mining practices, with Koura’s Las Cuevas mine taking centre stage. Session three was focused on new regional supply potential, with Pakistan and the UK showcasing new metspar and acidspar mining potential respectively. The UK acidspar project was previously operational and is especially interesting as it also contains a lithium by-product.   

The first session of the second day was geared more towards the fluorochemicals industry and in particular the importance of HF for both inorganic and organic fluorochemicals. HF demand is forecasted to increase substantially over the medium and long term, being driven primarily by growth for electronic grade HF which is used in the cleaning of semiconductors and microelectronics. Given this forecast, diversification opportunities to produce HF from fluorosilicic acid (FSA) were also explored along with the potential to produce lithium fluoride from HF to cater to the electric vehicle (EV) battery industry. The second session took a closer look at EV battery systems and suggested alternatives to lithium-ion batteries in the form of fluorine-ion batteries as a potential substitute. A consensus held by the forum is that current EV forecasts until 2035 will place a massive strain on fluorspar demand if no alternatives for the fluorine source of lithium-ion batteries are found and if HF remains integral to graphite processing for lithium-ion battery anodes.  

  • 19 Oct 2022
  • China
  • Fluorine

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