2012 saw the declining use of talc
as a filler in the paper industry more than offset by good
growth of the use of talc in polymers, especially for
Under-the-hood automotive parts
require high-aspect ratio talc - preferably high-purity grades
- to perform over a wide temperature range.
The largest global end market for
talc is still paper, which accounts for 34% of the
minerals end use. The second largest is the steadily
growing polymer market, accounting for 23%, followed by
ceramics, 15%, and paint, 12%.
The paper industry is undergoing a
transformation, resulting from the impact of electronic media,
and has to focus on high-end products and new applications. In
the long run, this will be positive for talc, as those
specialties contain high-value talc products.
There is growth potential in the
plastics industry, especially also in new applications outside
the automotive industry.
In November, Imerys attributed
increased sales of 36.6% for the companys performance
minerals in filtration business in part to a sharp increase in
talc demand for 2012 as the mineral is increasingly used in the
Mondo Minerals was acquired by
private equity group Advent International Corp. from Hg
Capital, at the end of 2011. Talc de Luzenac also changed hands
in 2011, acquired by France-based Imerys from Rio Tinto for
$340m and giving Imerys a total of around one-fifth of the
worlds talc production capacity.
In January 2012, New-York-based
Specialty Minerals Inc. (SMI), launched two new talc-based
anti-blocking products - Optibloc 8 and Optibloc
325 - for use in plastic film and bag applications.
The PDAC convention in Toronto in
March saw Globex Enterprises Inc. outline its expectations for
its talc and magnesite mine in Quebec, Canada, following
completion of a pre-feasibility study.
The company anticipates to produce
2.47m tonnes of talc and 2.381m tonnes of magnesite over 20
years from the project located 13km from Timmins in Ontario,
ML Minerals received planning
permission in April 2012 for its talc and calcite project in
Morocco, situated 80km west of the city of Ouarzazat. The
deposit is proven 85m of talc and calcite, which divides
roughly as 60% talc and 40% calcite.
In June 2012, leading US mineral
processor Cimbar Performance Minerals (CPM) announced it would
significantly expand its processing capabilities for barytes,
talc, and ground calcium carbonate (GCC) in the US and
Elsewhere, CPM is building a new multi-mineral
plant in Houston, Texas, to produce filler-grade barytes
and talc, and expected on stream in June 2013.