Millions of tyres could soon be used in Australia’s roads

New national specifications for Crumbed Rubber Modified (CRM) asphalt could see millions of waste tyres being used in Australia’s road infrastructure.

The Australian Asphalt Pavement Association (AAPA), Tyre Stewardship Australia (TSA), Main Roads Queensland, Main Roads WA, Sustainability Victoria and the Australian Road Research Board have worked together to develop and analyse research and development data to achieve cohesive national standards.

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The new national specifications could see nearly 10 per cent of the accessible feedstock for Australian tyre-derived crumb rubber used in domestic road manufacturing, which adds up to almost 4 million end-of-life tyres every year.

The document was published by the AAPA national technology and leadership committee to facilitate the construction of demonstration trials of CRM gap graded asphalt (GGA), and to promote the use of CRM open graded asphalt in Australia.

The crumb rubber binder technology is based on the technology used in the US, with the first demonstration section of CRM GGA in the Gold Coast placed in late June.

CRM Asphalt can offer better drainage, reduced noise, improved rut and crack resistance and reduced maintenance cycles.

Engineers and road contractors are now able to work within parameters of the new national specifications to take advantage of CRM asphalt and spray seal.

TSA Market Development Manager Liam O’Keefe said reaching a national standard has been a critical part of increasing the potential market for crumb rubber use in Australian roads.

“To fully realise this potential for that use we must continue to work with industry partners to ensure the delivery of better roads and better environmental outcomes for all,” Mr O’Keefe said.

“The important next phase of the task is ensuring that the new specifications are used. As utilisation of the new specifications grows, so too will the benefits to the end- of-life tyre industry.”

AAPA Director of Technology and Leadership Erik Denneman said this is a great outcome that has come from the close collaboration between industry and road agencies in Australia.

“For AAPA this initiative fits our objective of encouraging the efficient use of available resources and promoting the use of sustainable products,” Mr Denneman said.

The new national specifications can be found here.

Hanson Australia acquires Alex Fraser Group

Hanson Australia has acquired Alex Fraser Group, a leading provider of recycled construction materials and asphalt in Australia.

A subsidiary of the German multinational HeidelbergCement, Hanson Australia acquired the company after John Swire & Sons decided to sell Alex Fraser Group last year following a strategic review. The purchase price for the assets amounts to about €135 million (approximately $208 million AUD).

“The acquisition represents an important step for Hanson Australia and it further strengthens the market position in the urban centers of Melbourne and Brisbane,” said Chairman of the Managing Board of HeidelbergCement, Dr. Bernd Scheifele.

“In particular it will provide Hanson Australia with expertise in asphalt and construction materials recycling that complements the existing business and can be leveraged for entry into other markets. It is fully in-line with our strategy of value creating acquisitions, and we are expecting significant synergies.”

Established in 1879, Alex Fraser has become Australia’s leading provider of recycled construction materials and operates three facilities in Melbourne and two in Brisbane. It also produces asphalt out of two plants in Melbourne. Alex Fraser is expected to generate €20 million ($30 million AUD) of EBITDA in 2018 (including synergies of approximately €3 million ($4 million AUD). Alex Fraser will retain its brand and continue to operate as a stand-alone business.

HeidelbergCement is one of the world’s largest integrated manufacturers of building materials with leading market positions in aggregates, cement, and ready-mixed concrete. The company employs some 60,000 people at more than 3,000 locations in around 60 countries.