Three Springs Talc Mine, Three Springs, Three Springs Shire, Western Australia, Australia
|Latitude & Longitude (WGS84):||29° 30' 16'' South , 115° 51' 43'' East|
|Latitude & Longitude (decimal):||-29.5046347099, 115.862207644|
Open-cut talc mine located 12 kilometres north-east of Three Springs.
The second largest talc mine in the world, the annual production exceeds 240,000 tonnes.
Discovered in the 1940s, major mining started in 1948. To September 1944, 28 tonnes of talc had been extracted from three wells. The mine was an underground operation owned by Universal Milling Company until 1959 producing 29 771 tonnes of talc. In the mid 1970's, Western Mining Corporation, Universal Milling, and Southern Gold Mines NL entered a joint venture. Western Mining Corporation bought out the other partners in 1987, and commenced open cut mining in 1989. Between 1961 to 1994, 2.6 Mt of talc was produced. In 2001 the mine was sold to Luzenac, and in 2011 to Imerys Talc.
Three Springs is a magnesium carbonate sub-horizontal orebody, trending north, with a maximum width of 200 metres, and thickness of a few metres to 30 metres. It produces some of the whitest and purest talc ores, although the talc varies in colour from white to dark green. This is governed by the amount of chlorite in the ore.
The talc occurs in the Noondine Chert, which is a member of the Coomberdale sub-group. The Noondine Chert is a silicified carbonate containing significant dolomite. The talc mineralisation extends 70 kilometres south from the Three Springs mine, containing a number of significant deposits. The talc is thought to have formed by hydrothermal fluids from dolerite dykes intruded into the carbonates.
The sequence from the surface is up to 6 metres thick red-brown soils, talc rubble, and discontinuous chert bands; stromatolitic talc 0-6 metres thick; compact massive talc 0-12 metres thick; then thin cross bedded quartzite, pebbly then talc horizon. This is intruded by north trending dolerite dykes. The talc units thin to the north grading into talc arenite, and orthoquartzite.
3 valid minerals.
Rock Types Recorded
Select Rock List TypeAlphabetical List Tree Diagram
Entries shown in red are rocks recorded for this region.
This geological map and associated information on rock units at or nearby to the coordinates given for this locality is based on relatively small scale geological maps provided by various national Geological Surveys. This does not necessarily represent the complete geology at this locality but it gives a background for the region in which it is found.
Click on geological units on the map for more information. Click here to view full-screen map on Macrostrat.org
0 - 2.588 Ma
Age: Pleistocene (0 - 2.588 Ma)
Comments: regolith; synthesis of multiple published descriptions
Reference: Raymond, O.L., Liu, S., Gallagher, R., Zhang, W., Highet, L.M. Surface Geology of Australia 1:1 million scale dataset 2012 edition. Commonwealth of Australia (Geoscience Australia). 
Abeysinghe, P.B. (1996) Talc, Pyrophyllite and Magnesite in Western Australia: Western Australia Geological Survey, Mineral Resources Bulletin 16, 129p.