Afghanistan’s only fluorspar
operation is set to bring up to 122,500 tpy of acidspar online
within the next six months, bringing fresh supply to a tight
The Bakhud deposit, first explored by
Amania Mining in 2013, has 4.1 million tonnes of proven
fluorite (CaF2) reserves but until now has only been mined for
metal grade, 90% CaF2, fluorspar.
The Afghanistan-based mining company,
established since 2010, has a 60,000 tpy fluorspar capacity
with a current monthly production volume between 3,000-5,000
tonnes, but once capacity has been expanded it will be
producing 500 tonnes per day on average, equating to new
capacity of 182,500 tpy.
The market has been tight in the run up to
Lunar New Year because almost no Chinese fluorspar has been
available for export at a reasonable asking price since acidspar, 97%
CaF2, wet filtercake prices spiked to $480-520 per tonne fob,
China on January 18, up from $400-420 per tonne on January
"The market could potentially stay
under-supplied for two years, as we have suffered four to five
years of depression" one European producer told Industrial
Additional supply had been anticipated to
hit the market from Canada Fluorspar, although this has been
delayed because the company is reportedly fixing production
line issues that are typical to start-up operations.
The company, based in Newfoundland,
Canada, is likely to bring 200,000 tpy capacity to the
global market within a few months, in addition to
Thailand-based SC Mining adding another 30,000 tpy to the
market within the same time frame.
The two combined will be a relief to
consumers who have suffered rising prices in China and South
Africa. Industrial Minerals assessed the 97% acidspar, dry
filtercake, fob, Durban, South Africa price at $350-400 per
tonne on January 25, up from $300-350 the previous
This will be welcome news to producers who
commit their product to year-long contracts and therefore
prefer a less volatile market.
There are queries over the ability of
Amania Mining to get this additional supply to the market,
while another Europe-based producer voiced concern about safety
and security due to the deaths of over 120 people who died in
two separate attacks reportedly carried out by the Taliban
during January 2018.
The mine is located in the Kandahar
province, which was a hotbed of insurgent activity during the
Amania mining has a strong foothold in the
Turkish market, as well in the UK, India and France. The new
supply of acidspar will target the chemical industries that
produce hydrofluoric acid to make various hydrofluorocarbons,
and the aluminium industry that creates aluminium fluoride,
which is needed as a flux agent for smelting.