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The Three Springs talc mine is located 10 kilometres from the town of Three Springs and 330 kilometres north of Perth, near Geraldton, in Western Australia. Global mining company Rio Tinto purchased the mine from Western Mining Corporation in 2001 on behalf of its French subsidiary Luzenac Group. In 2011 Rio Tinto sold it to its present owners, another French company, IMERYS.

IMERYS is a world leader in producing minerals such as talc for the purpose of adding value to industrial minerals generally. The Three Springs talc mine produces 240,00 tonnes of talc a year.

An Outback Mine With The latest in World Technology

The talc processing mill at the Three Springs mine is equipped with the latest technology available to turn the very fine grained talc powder into a valued product used in cosmetics, plastics, ceramics, paint and paper making.

The Mining Operation at Three Springs

Talc is the softest mineral known but it comes in nature locked within rock. The Three Springs mine is operated as an open cut as are most talc mines throughout the world. The reject rock overlaying the talc vein has to be removed by large shovels that are capable of removing 1,500 tonnes an hour. Once the talc is exposed it is extracted using smaller hydraulic back hoes. The sorting of the differing ores begins at this early stage as the ore is removed from the seam. From her the following procedure takes place:

Ore containing talc is sorted by talc content. This is able to be carried out by the brightness of the ore, a feature picked up with the use of image analysis and art laser technology along with flotation and friction sorting. The ore is dried before crushing and grinding it to a fine micro-size. Median particle sizes can be less than one micron.

Treatment of the talc powder takes many forms depending on its final use. For example talc used in fertiliser are amine coated, rubber industry talc is silane coated. Talc used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry are heat treated for decontamination purposes.

Talc powder is placed into bags for transportation although it is also transported in bulk when being transported in large amounts. The talc produced at the Three Springs mine is purchased by the paint, paper, cosmetic, agricultural and ceramic industry. Some is sold as carving blocks.

Local People From Three Springs Benefit From the Mine at Their Doorstep

All employees of the Three Spring talc mine reside locally and the benefits derived by the local community are immense. Talc was first discovered at Three Springs in the 1940's. It was then operated as an underground mine by Universal Milling Company. Western Mining purchased a half share in the mine in 1960 and began operating it as an open cut operation.

The Ore Body at Three Springs is Magnesium Carbonate

The predominant ore body at the Three Springs mine is magnesium carbonate. This produces the whitest and purist of all talc ores although it can vary in colour from pure white to dark green in many places. The colour is dependant on the level of chlorite contained in the ore.


Imerys is an international supplier of high-performance minerals to various industries that assist in processing and treatments. Our products include the following naturally occurring minerals - clays, calcium carbonates, kaolins, mica and feldspars.As leaders in our field we are able to more


Locked Bag 8002
Richmond East, VIC 3121


Phone02 8345 7900

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