Talc is a versatile soft, white mineral, used in making paint, plastics, paper, ceramics, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
Mount Fitton, about 130 km northeast of Leigh Creek, has the largest and highest grade of all the South Australian talc deposits.
The road through the talc mine gradually deteriorates to a track and comes out at the homestead of Mt Fitton which was a prosperous sheep property in the 1920s, now part of Mt Freeling Station http://www.mtfreeling.com.au/
The Adnyamathanha shared their knowledge of the talc deposits near Mt Fitton with Europeans.
Their stories tell how the talc was formed, and their regret at how sharing the information led to mining.
Talc from this mine is pure and fine enough to use for cosmetics.
Talc has been mined continuously near Mt Fitton since 1945.
Joe Ford sought opinions from Gordon Greenwood and geologist Reg Sprigg about the value of the deposit. They were members of the first syndicate to open and work the mine.
It has changed hands several times.
In 2012 it is owned by Sibelco, one of the world’s largest industrial mineral companies.
Previous owners include Unimin Australia, Normandy Industrial Minerals and Steetley Industries Ltd.
Cornelius Alferink, better known as Talc Alf used to load Mt Fitton talc onto trucks for transport to Adelaide for milling.
He selects special pieces, carves them into shapes and sells them from his outdoor gallery near Lyndhurst.