Dust Control & Environment

What to do with an old conveyor belt

What to do with the tonnes of rubber on this old roll? Photo: Peter Glenane/HiVis Pictures

Remote mine sites often puzzle over what to do with many tonnes of waste rubber from old conveyor belts and tyres. Recycling company Tyrecycle says it can offer a solution.

Tyrecycle chief executive Jim Fairweather says the company’s model of collecting and re-purposing rubber waste otherwise destined for landfill is providing mining sites with a simple and environmentally sustainable answer to a growing challenge.

“Securing a safe, commercial solution for the large volumes of used rubber materials has always been difficult for Australia’s mining sector, as the cost of disposal, processing and the sheer volume of waste rubber created, increases over time,” Fairweather says.

With its national collection and processing footprint, Tyrecycle is focused on eradicating this once-large problem from mining sites.

“We can recover and recycle rubber materials from anywhere in Australia, including some of the nation’s largest and most remote mining sites,” Fairweather says.

“Our capabilities have recently been further enhanced by the commissioning of a mobile shredder, which will reduce the transportation costs and challenges associated with such large waste streams.”

Each year, Tyrecycle collects more than 120,000 tonnes of end-of-life tyres, conveyor belts and off-the-road (OTR) material from sites across Australia, turning it into recycled rubber for re-use in domestic construction, manufacturing and automotive industries.

“With five specialised processing facilities across Australia and a fleet of 70 collection vehicles, we are the only Australian business with the capability to collect and process such quantities of rubber waste domestically,” explains Fairweather.

“We guarantee a full chain of custody for all materials received, processed and supplied; ensuring our products are used in an environmentally sound way and that’s important to our clients.”

Global base metals company MMG is among the many businesses taking advantage of Tyrecycle’s remote resource recovery service.

“The remoteness of our Rosebery Mine, 300 kilometres north-west of Hobart and 125 kilometres south of Burnie, creates unique challenges, one of which is collecting and safely disposing of large quantities of rubber waste,” MMG Rosebery general manager Aaron Brannigan says.

“Through a partnership with Tyrecycle we have safely removed more than 220 tonnes of OTR waste since October 2013.”

From the waste it collects across Australia, Tyrecycle produces a rubber crumb and Tyre Derived Fuel (TDF) using a process of re-manufacturing. Its products are then used nationally in the development of sporting surfaces, playgrounds, road surfacing, adhesives, brake-pads and as fuel for energy recovery.

Fairweather says the company is discovering new applications for its waste material and is focused on its ultimate achievement of reducing the number of tyres entering landfill to zero.

“It’s about driving better environmental outcomes, while at the same time addressing the concerning safety issues associated with the stockpiling of waste,” he says.

“There are plenty of examples of rubber waste as both a fire hazard and a breeding ground for disease through mosquitoes, and that has a flow-on effect for both vegetation and wildlife.”

Finding an end-of-life disposal solution that safeguards the environment was a key catalyst for MMG’s partnership with Tyrecycle.

A focus on the management of waste rubber material is increasingly likely to become a focus of mine management plans as government regulations tighten and interest groups put the heat on the sector for best practice environmental outcomes.

For every waste tyre that it recycles, Tyrecycle says it recovers 85 per cent of the rubber needed to make a new tyre, 95 per cent of the steel needed to make a new tyre and offsets almost 60 per cent of the greenhouse gases emitted to make new tyres.

Tyrecycle is part of the ResourceCo Group – an Australian waste management and recycling business which employs over 400 staff, operating in 20 locations.

Contact: www.tyrecycle.com.au

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