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Talc

The softest rock on the planet, talc is an ultra-versatile mineral valued for its diverse properties by a wide range of applications.

Talc

KEY FIGURES

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Imerys is the world leader for talc-based solutions
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On the Mohs scale. Talc is the softest rock on the planet

HIGHLY PRIZED PROPERTIES

Talc is a hydrated magnesium silicate. Talc deposits form from the transformation of high magnesium rocks by siliceous hydrothermal fluids.  Most talc originates from the alteration of dolomite, or ultramafic intrusive rocks. Following this process, talc is always found in combination with other mineral(s). Carbonates and chlorite are the most common associated minerals.

Each talc deposit has a unique morphology and mineralogy, but all talcs exhibit the following unique properties: softness, water repellency, chemical inertness, platyness and an affinity for organic substances.

These properties make talc a highly prized multi-functional filler and process enabler in an array of applications from plastics to paper, ceramics to paint.

Aerial view of the Trimouns talc mine and ore handling area, France
Trimouns mine overburden removal process to expose underlying talc ore
Trimouns mine close-up of design and layout
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Talc is a clay mineral composed of hydrated magnesium silicate with the chemical formula
Mg3Si4O10(OH)2

PHYSICAL PROPERTIES

  • Softest mineral on earth (1 on Mohs’ scale)
  • Platy, lamellar 
  • Hydrophobic 
  • Oleophilic (natural affinity with oils)
  • Relatively inert 
A microscopic view of talc
Talc in white powder form
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A HUNDRED YEARS OF TALC EXPERTISE

Imerys is one of the world’s largest producers of talc with over a hundred years of talc expertise behind it. We operate talc mines in Austria, France, Italy and Australia, providing us with an extensive portfolio of high-quality ores, as well as talc processing plants in Belgium and Japan. Our Trimouns mine in southwest France is the world’s largest working talc mine. 

Working hand in hand with customers, our scientists and process experts elaborate new product designs to meet their specific formulation requirements. Due to this constant focus on innovation Imerys plays a key front role in its customers’ value chain.

SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS FOR TOMORROW’S WORLD

Today, we focus our attention on providing industry with sustainable, value-added talc-based solutions which contribute to preserving the environment and to lowering our customers’ own carbon footprint. 

Widely used in automotive plastics, high-aspect-ratio (HAR®) talcs confer just the right balance of rigidity and impact strength, allowing manufacturers to make parts thinner and lighter, contributing to lowering overall vehicle weight. Likewise, our micro-lamellar talcs enhance permeability in rubber, improving the rolling resistance of tires and the fuel efficiency of the vehicle. 

In paints and coatings, talc is an ideal, natural solution for replacing less environment-friendly TiO2 and for improving the mechanical and optical properties of coatings. 

In the pulp and paper industry, talcs are excellent solutions for avoiding deposits enabling mills to work in closed water circuits and to optimize prime resources. 

Used in ceramic tiles and sanitaryware, talc improves the vitrification process, allowing producers to reduce firing temperatures and shorten firing cycles. 

In agriculture, talc-based solutions can provide excellent natural alternatives to chemicals for protecting fruit from the sun’s rays and disease. They are ideal for organic farming. Talcs also make effective flow and anti-caking agents for fertilizers.

Vehicle tire made with micro-lamellar talcs, improving the rolling resistance

Vehicle tire made with micro-lamellar talcs, improving the rolling resistance.

Our market focus will continue to be towards providing increasingly specific natural, talc-based products to meet demand for lightweight and eco-friendly materials and enhanced energy efficiency.

Plastics & rubber

Paints & Coatings

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