MN 27: Incredible Tire Recycling Facility Using Thermal Conversion for A Circular Economy ft. Kal Tire

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MN 27: Incredible Tire Recycling Facility Using Thermal Conversion for A Circular Economy ft. Kal Tire

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What is the life of a tire and are there answers to one of minings biggest environmental challenges? Located in the heart of Chile’s mining region, home to some of the world’s largest copper mines, Kal Tire has built and is now operating a facility that has the capability to recycle 20 tonnes  (20,000 kilograms or 44,092.5 pounds) of tires each day with 40 percent of the weight of those scrap tires having the potential to return to mines as alternative fuels. This is what Dave Allan, Vice President of Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group, Canada, and Scott Farnham Director of Recycling Services joined Mining NOW to discuss with host Jerrod Downey.


Dave looked at the facility from the perspective of a scalable model that can be expanded to countries like Canada and the likelihood of legislation being passed that would require mines to recycle OTR tires as they have in Chile. He explains that for Kal Tire this investment is not a large margin or stand alone business but an example of environment stewardship and an example of what can be accomplished. He discussed the interest it has raised across the industry and how he sees various mining companies approaching recycling tires both as a business strategy and from an environmental responsibility standpoint. An example of this commitment are to major Chilean mine operators Antofagasta Minerals S.A. and Minera Los Pelambres who initially provided Kal Tire with more than 2,300 tons of scrap tires, becoming the first mining company in Chile to recycle their ultra-class mining tires.


Scott brough technical design and operations insight to the interview. In the new recycling plant Kal Tire arranges transport, loading and unloading of all sizes of scrap tires, including 63” tires. The two thermal conversion burners decompose organic material with heat in the absence of oxygen, converting tires back into their original components: fuel oil, carbon black and steel. The challenges of making this a reality spanned correctly applying the technology to proving to government officials the highest environmental standard were being met. Safety fire protection including a water reservoir, water cannons, infrared sensors, and special fire encapsulation ingredients were all part of the design and given their location the building was designed to withstand a 9.0 earthquake.


To give you an idea of the capacity one full design load (20,000kgs of tires) will provide:

  • 6,500 liters of oil
  • 4,000 kg of steel
  • 8,000 kg of carbon black

That is enough synthetic gas to fuel the plant itself for seven hours. 


The circular economy is an easy thing to discuss at a high level but perhaps there is no better tangible example of real investment by a company in making it a reality than Kal Tire’s incredible tire recycling plant! 


Learn more about the Kal Tire’s Recycling Initiatives:

Follow Kal Tire on LinkedIN

Follow Kal Tire Mining Tire Group on LinkedIn


Mining Now is a joint mining podcast and web series by CIM/ICM and Crownsmen Partners. Join us to learn about the latest innovations in operating mines to increase energy efficiency and production. We look into modern mining and processing equipment including autonomous vehicles and IOT technology. Experts tackle everything from skilled labour shortages to team building to meeting evolving safety regulations. This is the mining of today that will shape the mines of tomorrow.




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