Fluorite occurrences in Canada and processing studies at CANMET

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 86, No. 968, 1993

P.R.A. Andrews and R.K. Collings, Mineral Processing Laboratory, CANMET, Ottawa, Ontario

There are more than 300 occurrences of fluorite in Canada. Deposits of economic significance, however, are confined to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia in eastern Canada, Ontario in central Canada, and British Columbia in western Canada. Fluorite has been mined and processed intermittently in Ontario and Newfoundland until November 1990, when Canada's only producer Minworth Ltd., a U.K. based company, with a mine and concentrator near St. Lawrence on the Burin Peninsula, Newfoundland, closed its operation. CANMET has processed ore samples from each of the major mineralized areas, and thirty-one studies were conducted between 1920 and 1970. A summary of the important aspects of the various testwork studies is presented. The production of acid-grade fluorite was possible by flotation, and ceramic-grade, by flotation and gravity concentration methods.Gravity concentration methods included heavy media separation, jigging and tabling. Flotation was by direct and reverse techniques; associated minerals, quartz, calcite, barite, etc. were depressed by a variety of depressants. The function of the major depressants is discussed briefly. The various uses of fluorite which include hydrofluoric acid, chlorofluorocarbons, aluminum production, petroleum alkylation, fluxing and ceramic applications etc. are discussed briefly.
Keywords: Fluorite, Industrial minerals, Mineral processing, CFCs.