A vital feedstock to the chemicals industry with a relatively mild ESG profile overall, but with some reported links to child labour.
Fluorite, which is also known as fluorspar, is widely used for chemical manufacturing, in particular the production of hydrofluoric acid. It is also used to make high quality optics, and in the manufacture of speciality glass, ceramics and enamelware, as well as to make the non-stick coating Teflon. Lower grade fluorite ore is used as a flux in steel and aluminium production.
69% of fluorite production takes place in China, but China holds just 19% of global fluorite reserves. In future years, fluorite production may shift to countries with comparable known reserves, but lower current production, including Mexico, South Africa and Mongolia.
The scale of ESG issues associated with the fluorite supply chain is relatively low compared to that of many other minerals. Nonetheless, ESG issues do exist for fluorite that should be examined as part of a company’s supply chain due diligence. The most noteworthy of these is hazardous child labour, which reportedly occurs in the sorting and packing of fluorite in Mongolia.
Main Uses and Attributes
Fluorite is a precursor chemical for many industrial compounds, including hydrofluoric acid. Hydrofluoric acid has a range of applications, such as etching and cleaning circuit boards, preparing steel for galvanizing or painting,  creating fluorocarbons and other chemicals, etching glass and dissolving uranium oxide as part of the refining process for nuclear fuel.
Fluorite is also used to make high quality optics, and in speciality glazes and surface treatments, for glass, ceramics and enamelware, and to make the non-stick coating Teflon.
Lower grade fluorite ore is used as a flux in steel and aluminium production, to remove impurities from molten metal at the smelting stage, to aid the melting process and to alter the chemical and physical properties of the slag that is formed.
Supply Chain Risk
TDi assesses Fluorite for key risks affecting the security of supply, and for its association with artisanal and small-scale mining.
Country Governance Risks
Fluorite's association with countries experiencing:
Association with ESG issues
TDi Sustainability's data rates Fluorite's association with the following issues as high or very high: