Fluorine


Fluorine is widely distributed in the earth's crust. Despite this, fluorine does not commonly occur in deposits sufficiently rich for commercial development and only three minerals are important, namely, cryolite (3NaFAlF3), fluorspar (CaF2) and fluorapatite (CaF2 3Ca3 (PO4)2 ). Cryolite or Greenland spar is not a common mineral and commercial deposits occur only in Greenland. Cryolite has numerous industrial applications, the most important being in the aluminum industry, and it is now manufactured synthetically from fluorspar. Fluorspar is the most important fluorine mineral in commerce. Its workable deposits are found in many such as the United States, Mexico, ex-URSS, China and Europe. The principal uses of fluorspar are in the steel industry, in the manufacture of hydrofluoric acid and cryolite, and in the ceramics industry.

In contrast to the high flourine content of fluorspar, fluorapatite has only 3.5% of fluorine. It occurs in massive form as phoshate rock deposits in the United States, ex-URSS, North Africa and islands of the Pacific and West Indies. It is used by the phosphate fertilizer industry.