Australia’s largest tyre recycler, Tyrecycle, in partnership with Kariyarra Aboriginal Corporation, has secured a $6.9 million grant to build a secure processing facility at Port Hedland.
In a move that will transform the management of both legacy and ongoing rubber mining waste in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, the facility will process passenger and truck tyres, off-the-road (OTR) mining tyres and conveyor belts for repurposing.
This comes as part of an announcement by the Morrison and McGowan Governments of joint funding of $70 million to turbo charge the resource recovery sector in WA, as part of the rollout of the Recycling Modernisation Fund.
Aloginside this grant, Tyrecycle, the tyre recycling division of leading Australasian resource recovery company ResourceCo, also received funding for investment in processing equipment at its Perth facility, which will see an increase in the repurposing of waste tyres across the state.
Tyrecycle CEO Jim Fairweather said the funding will be transformational in delivering strong environmental outcomes, while also providing an economic and jobs boost.
“This demonstrates a real confidence in the innovation of the resource recovery sector and its commitment to driving sustainable solutions to long-standing waste management issues,” he said.
“As an example, approximately 40,000 tonnes of waste tyres and potentially even more used conveyor belts are currently stockpiled, managed in-pit and buried onsite each year in the mining sector in the Pilbara.
“This funding will enable a new processing facility to be built at Port Hedland which will provide a cost-effective solution to a long-standing problem.”
The new facility will have the capacity to process over 10 tonnes of OTR per hour and 27,000 tonnes annually.
“We will have the capability to load four full container loads of repurposed waste material to leave the area per day – which is an outstanding turnaround,” Fairweather said.
The tyres will undergo primary processing where the size reduced material will be containerised for direct export from the region to Tyrecycle’s processing facility in South-East Asia.
It will be converted into rubber crumb for either repatriation back into Australia for domestic consumption or for sale into other markets as feedstock for other high-value re-purposed products.
“The entire process which is subject to strict documentation, process control and protocols, will deliver a local, Pilbara-based approach for the environmentally and socially conscious management of mining tyre and conveyor belt waste,” Fairweather said.
“Importantly, almost 100 per cent of the Kariyarra-Tyrecycle workforce, will be comprised of people from the Kariyarra community.”
Additional funding for Tyrecycle’s Perth processing facility of $5.2 million will facilitate production of 42,000 tonnes of tyre shred and 3,000 tonnes of tyre crumb from end- of-life tyres, which is then repurposed for use in road manufacturing, tyre-derived fuel, tile adhesive and sporting and playground surfaces.
“We’re delighted to be partnering with Government to embrace waste as a resource instead of a problem and will continue to drive innovative solutions for progressing Australia’s transition to a circular economy.”