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What is Talc?

Talc rock

Talc is a hydrated magnesium silicate. There are many types of talc and each ore body has its own features, its own geology, formed many millions of years ago. As a natural ore, talc is always found in combination with at least one other mineral. The most common of these is chlorite, a chemically and structurally similar ore. Other associated minerals often found with talc include dolomite and magnesite.


Talc deposits result from the transformation of existing rocks under the effect of hydrothermal fluids carrying one or several of the components needed to form the mineral. Tectonics play a major role in the genesis of a talc deposit as they enable hydrothermal fluids to penetrate the rock, creating a micro-permeability that facilitates reactions in the mass. The size and shape of a talc deposit depends upon the intensity of this hydrothermal activity which corresponds to the climate of a low temperature metamorphism.

Physical properties

SEM photograph talc
  • Softest mineral on earth (1 on Mohs’ scale)
  • Platy, lamellar 
  • Hydrophobic 
  • Oleophilic (natural affinity with oils)
  • Relatively inert 
  • Properties vary from one deposit to another depending on associated minerals
  • Agriculture
  • Ceramics
  • Paints & Coatings
  • Personal Care
  • Paper & Board
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Plastics
  • Rubber
  • Agriculture

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

    • Used in ceramic floor tiles and sanitaryware, talc improves the vitrification process, allowing producers to reduce firing temperatures and shorten firing cycles. 
    Imerys talcs sanitaryware
  • Paints & Coatings

    • Talc is an ideal pigment, filler and extender in house and industrial paints and primers, where it improves mechanical and optical properties and production processes.
    • It brings a range of benefits to color concentrates, inks, enamels, varnishes, putties, body fillers, mortars and asphalts.
    Paint pots and paintbrushes
  • Personal Care

    • Soft to the touch and chemically inert, talc has been used as a body powder for hundreds of years and is an ideal carriers for perfumes.
    • Talc provides the silkiness in blushers and eye shadows; the transparency of foundations and the sheen of powder compacts.
    • Soap manufacturers use talc as a filler, where it enhances the softness and lather of soaps and cuts formulation costs.
    Make-up brushes
  • Paper & Board

    • Talc is used in the pulp, paper and board industry as a filler and to control pitch and stickies which clog machines impacting runnability.
    • Talc is an effective coating agent in rotogravure and offset papers where it improves runnability and the quality of the finished paper.
    • In certain specialty papers such as colored papers and labels, talc improves quality and productivity.
    Recycled paper bales
  • Pharmaceuticals

    • Talc is an ideal excipient for tablets, a carrier for medicated powders and a glidant and lubricant in tablet production.
    • In pharmaceutical coatings, talc is an excellent anti-tack agent. It is used in enteric coatings for targeted delivery of drugs.
    talc-coated tablets
  • Plastics

    • Talc is an excellent reinforcing filler in polypropylene and engineering thermoplastics for automotive parts, domestic appliances, E&E components and food packaging.
    • It is used for antiblocking in polyethylene; restores mechanical properties to recycled plastics; and is an ideal nucleating agent in biopolymers and semi-crystalline polymers.
    • Talc is added to wood-plastic composites - increasingly used as a sustainable substitute for lumber in outdoor decking - to improve structural integrity.
    Car with plastic bumper
  • Rubber

    • Talc is used in seals, hoses, membranes, cables, tires and other mechanical rubber goods to improve processing, permeability, weathering, electrical properties, fire resistance and mechanical properties such as tear.
    • In tires, high aspect ratio talcs improve the impermeability of inner liners, improving rolling resistance and contributing to better fuel efficiency.
    Rubber tire

A Day on the White Mountain -Trimouns, southwest France