Farmer and truck parts retailer John Galea has responded to the tyre dumping problem in Northern Queensland by opening the JMJ Tyre Recycling plant.
With 40 years in business under their belts, most sexagenarians would be considering retirement. John Galea, however, is treading a new career path with the opening of his JMJ Tyre Recycling plant this past July.
Having started out in cane farming in the family business in the 1950s, John established Johnny Farming Company in 1976. Over the years, he developed and diversified the enterprise – in which his own family are now involved – to include the imports and distribution of jacks, pumps and agricultural machinery and, eventually, tyres.
Changing with the times, in the 1980s John expanded into trucking and, from there, into selling and repairing tractors. The journey to tyre recycling started about 20 years ago, when John started importing and selling mainly large earthmoving tyres. He even set up an office in China to source tyres for a variety of commercial needs.
“We’re jacks of all trades, being such a rural business. The farms, the trucks and selling parts and tools used to
be our main focus, but then the tyre business became busier,” John says.
The motivation behind setting up a tyre recycling plant, according to John, was two-fold.
“I could see an opening in the market for it, as no one doing it this far north,” says John. “As a result, and the second reason, I was noticing the sheer number of old tyres being dumped around the countryside. We’ve had lots of problems ourselves with people littering tyres in our paddocks.”
With what looked like a good business opportunity without much local competition, about three years
ago John headed to China to investigate what tyre recycling machinery would work best for his conditions and incoming tyres.
In the end, John formed a partnership with Chinese recycling machinery manufacturer Lionheart and tyre manufacturer and exporter Candon International to bring his plans for the JMJ Tyre Recycling plant to life.
The new plant
In early 2015, John started work to secure permission from the council to build the factory on a paddock within his existing premises. Work started on setting up the new factory in October 2015, as he imported a huge shed from China. Measuring 18 by 70 metres, it was delivered to Mackay in three containers.
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