This blog highlights information and data I have found on the Internet related to fluorine uses, prices, and production.
Uses. Natural occurrence of fluorine is found only when it is bonded to other elements, primarily in the mineral fluorspar (also known as fluorite, consisting mostly of calcium fluoride). It is from fluorspar that fluorine is chemically sourced as hydrofluoric acid (HF). The HF is then used to react with other elements to form useful fluorine-containing compounds. Because of the very high reactivity of fluorine, when fluorine is reacted with other elements, very stable compounds are formed. Fluorine, once bonded stronger resists being un-bonded, thus providing high inertness and stability to the compounds it is in, which is a property account for use of several fluorine-containing compounds. Some of the HF produced from fluorspar has uses as an acid, e.g., to etch glass and to process semiconducting materials.
Prices. Two market prices relevant to fluorine use are the price of fluorspar and the price of HF. Internet data suggest that global 2018 fluorspar prices ranged from $400 to $500 per metric ton (mt). Several Chinese fluorspar mine closings in 2018, due to environmental concerns, boosted world fluorspar prices in 2018. 2018 global market prices for HF were in the $1,000 to $2,000 per mt range. HF vendors have both the fluorspar raw material and the HF processing costs to cover in their HF sales price.
Production. Internet data suggests that in 2018 approximately 6 million mt of fluorspar was mined. Assuming the average 2018 fluorspar price was $450 per mt, this gives a fluorspar 2018 production value of approximately $2.7 billion (6 million mt times $450 per mt).
Internet data also suggests that the 2018 global market value of HF produced was approximately $4.3 billion. Assuming an average HF price of $1,500 per mt, 2.9 million mt of HF was produced in 2018 ($4.3 billion divided by $1,500 per mt).
The above production data gives some insight into the value of fluorine as a starting material – the 2018 prices producers are willing to pay for the benefits of fluorine in subsequent uses.