The term talc refers both to the pure mineral and a wide variety of soft, talc-containing rocks that are mined and utilized for a variety of applications. Talc forms mica-like flakes. Talc is the softest mineral on the Mohs hardness scale at 1 and can be easily cut and crushed. Talc has perfect cleavage in one direction, meaning that it breaks into thin sheets and as a result it feels greasy to the touch which is why talc is used as a lubricant.
Most talc is mined today by conventional open-pit, drill-and-blast. Shovel-and-truck techniques. The major difference from conventional technology is that blasting is minimized to reduce breakage of soft talc ore.
Ground talc is used as an ingredient in ceramics, paper, paint, roofing, plastics, cosmetics, talcum and baby powders, and a variety of other assorted uses such as making rubber and plastics.
Talcum powder was also used as a filler to prevent slipping in latex gloves. Talc is highly resistant to heat and electricity, and is therefore used in electronics and as an insulator. It is also a filler material for paints, rubber and insecticides.
Talc is also used as an ornamental stone, being carved into figures, jewellery boxes, tiling, and art sculptures, because it is so soft and can be very easily cut and carved.