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Basic Customs Duty Exempted On Acid Grade Fluorspar

Relevance: GS-3 Indian Economy, Budget 2023

Facts About Fluorite:

  • Fluorite is a popular mineral that naturally occurs in all colors of the spectrum.
  • Its colors are caused by impurities, with pure fluorite being colorless.
  • Fluorite is deposited by hydrothermal solutions from igneous intrusions and can form veins or replacement deposits.
  • Synthetic fluorite can also be obtained as a by-product of uranium processing, petroleum alkylation, and stainless pickling.
  • By state, Gujarat has the largest reserves (66%) of fluorite, followed by Rajasthan (29%), Chhattisgarh (3%), and Maharashtra (2%).

Facts About Fluorite Grades:

  • Two grades of fluorite are involved in consumption and trade: acid grade (acidspar) and sub-acid grade.
  • Acid grade contains more than 97% CaF2.
  • Sub-acid grade analyzes 97% or less CaF2 and includes Metallurgical (60 to 85% CaF2) and Ceramic (85 to 95% CaF2) grades.
  • Sub-acid grade is commonly known as Metallurgical grade (metspar).

Facts and Examples About Fluorite Uses:

  1. Feedstock in the Manufacture of Hydrofluoric Acid (HF) and Aluminum Fluoride (AlF3):
  • Acid grade fluorite is used as a raw material in the production of hydrofluoric acid and aluminum fluoride.
  1. Production of Fluorocarbon Chemicals:
  • Hydrofluoric acid is used in the production of a wide range of fluorocarbon chemicals, including hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and fluoropolymers.
  • HFCs are used as refrigerants in air conditioning systems, HCFCs are used as solvents, blowing agents, and fire-extinguishing agents. Fluoropolymers are used in the manufacture of Teflon.
  1. Replacement of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs):
  • Due to environmental concerns, part of the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) have been replaced by hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).
  1. Uranium Tetrafluoride:
  • Hydrofluoric acid is used in the manufacture of uranium tetrafluoride, an important ingredient in nuclear fuel and fission explosives.
  1. Other Applications:
  • Hydrofluoric acid is also used in stainless pickling, petroleum alkylation, glass etching, oil & gas well treatment, and electronics industry as an etcher and cleaner.

Environment Concern:

  • Fluoride in Drinking Water
  1. Concerns over its use
  2. Linked to Fluorosis
  3. Permissible limit in drinking water (1.5 mg/l)
  4. Methods of Defluoridation
  • Fluorine in the Atmosphere
  1. Controversy over chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
  2. Depletion of ozone layer
  3. Alternative compounds: HFCs and HCFCs
  4. Boost in fluorite consumption expected
  5. Phasing out of greenhouse gases
  6. Potential persistence for over a century.

World Reserve:

  • Total world reserves of fluorite: 310 million tonnes
  • Main countries with reserves: Mexico (22%), China (14%), South Africa (13%), Mongolia (7%)
  • World production of fluorite in 2018: 5.90 million tonnes (9% increase from previous year)
  • Principal producing countries in 2018: China (59%), Mexico (20%), South Africa (4%), Kazakhstan (2%)


  • The main sources of fluorite imports were China & South Africa (35% each), Thailand (18%), Vietnam, and Morocco (3% each).
  • The main sources of aluminum fluoride imports were Mexico (33%), China (27%), UAE (20%), Indonesia (10%), Jordan (5%) and Qatar (4%).
  • The main sources of hydrofluoric acid imports were China (81%) and Germany (18%).

December 2023