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Progressive solutions in the Pilbara: Tyrecycle and Kariyarra Aboriginal Corporation

A joint venture between Tyrecycle and Kariyarra Aboriginal Corporation will specialise in the processing of end-of-life mine-site tyres.

Tackling a pressing environmental issue in the Pilbara Region with positive social and economic outcomes, Kariyarra Tyrecycle has secured a multi-million-dollar grant to build a secure waste tyre processing facility at Port Hedland, Western Australia.

The joint venture between Australia’s largest tyre recycler Tyrecycle and Kariyarra Aboriginal Corporation will specialise in the processing of end-of-life mine-site tyres and conveyor belts.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with government to drive innovative solutions for progressing Australia’s transition to a circular economy,” Jim Fairweather, Tyrecycle CEO, says.

The new facility will be able to efficiently and sustainably process passenger and truck tyres, off-the-road mining tyres and conveyor belts, ultimately resulting in their repurposing.

“This project will transform the management of both legacy and ongoing rubber mining waste in Western Australia,” Fairweather says.

“It’s a big step towards making real progress in delivering strong environmental outcomes, while also providing an economic and jobs boost.”

One hundred per cent of the Kariyarra Tyrecycle workforce will be comprised of people from the Kariyarra community.

The project has attracted the attention of policy makers, keen to support progressive solutions to long standing waste management issues, ahead of the waste bans being rolled out progressively across the country.

That includes a ban on the export of whole-baled waste tyres, which is due to come into effect in December this year.

Recently, the Western Australian and Federal Governments approved a $6.9 million grant for the project, as part of the first tranche of the rollout of the Recycling Modernisation Fund.

Fairweather says it is a vote of confidence in the innovation of the resource recovery sector and its commitment to driving sustainable solutions to long-established waste management issues.

“This project represents a win-win,” Fairweather adds.

“It will provide stable local employment opportunities, a new revenue stream for the community, and importantly, sustainable environmental outcomes.”

According to Stephen Stewart, Kariyarra Aboriginal Corporation CEO, caring for the environment is important to all Traditional Custodians in the Pilbara region.

“The responsible reclamation and processing of waste that would otherwise be disposed in-situ will help care for the land in a way that preserves it for future generations.”

The new facility will have the capacity to process over 10 tonnes of off-the-road tyres per hour and 27,000 tonnes annually.

“Utilising existing logistics networks and working together with industry partners, we can provide an efficient mine-to-processing service,” Stewart says.

The tyres will undergo primary processing on-site at the Port Hedland facility, before the size reduced material is containerised for direct export from the region to Tyrecycle’s processing facility in South-East Asia.

It will then be converted into rubber crumb for either repatriation back into Australia for domestic consumption, or for sale into other markets as feedstock for high-value re-purposed products.

“What this project delivers is a local Pilbara-based approach towards the environmentally and socially conscious management of off-the-road tyre waste,” Stewart says.

Tyrecycle is also looking to boost processing capacity at its recycling facility in Perth, to facilitate the production of 42,000 tonnes of tyre shred and 3000 tonnes of crumb from end-of-life tyres.

This material will be repurposed for use in road manufacturing, tyre-derived fuel, tile adhesive and sporting and playground surfaces.

The company is also building a new, world-leading, multi-million-dollar, purpose-built plant at Erskine Park in Sydney to process rubber waste into tyre-derived fuel and rubber crumb for use in roads and sporting surfaces.

“The Federal Government’s ban on the export of waste last year creates opportunities for expansion,” Fairweather says.

“As Australia’s leading tyre recycler, we’re excited about the potential growth in demand for products repurposed from end-of-life tyres, especially if supported by bold government procurement targets.”

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