19 September, 2023

Mining tyre rubber meets the road in new trial

IN A Queensland first, crumb rubber created from giant mining tyres has been used in a trial to resurface a major highway.

Mining tyre rubber meets the road in new trial - feature photo

The trial aims to show mining tyres can be successfully recycled to add value to road construction.

The project team wanted to investigate if a crumb rubber modified binder made from OTR mining tyres could construct a spray seal for Queensland roads.

Two giant mining tyres supplied by BHP, each over 4 metres high and weighing 4.2 tonnes, were used in the trial.

The giant mining tyres were crushed to produce 7.1 tonnes of small crumbs which was added to bitumen used to construct road surfacing.

The trial occurred as part of a reseal project on the Peak Downs Highway in December 2022.

Since completion, the road surfacing has performed well in the central Queensland summer heat under the intense mining traffic and continues to be monitored.

The project was supported by the National Asset Centre of Excellence (NACOE) research program in collaboration with the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB). NACOE undertake various projects enabling the use of crumb rubber bituminous binder in Queensland roads.

The successful construction of trial road surfacing was achieved through collaboration with industry and peak bodies. BHP supplied the tyres, AfPA rallied their members support, Carroll Engineering crumbed the tyre rubber, Ixom and Bituminous Products manufactured it, and Queensland Central Bitumen sprayed it onto the highway.

Transport and Main Roads Chief Engineer, Dennis Walsh, said this exciting project is a Queensland first. The crumb rubber laid down as road surfacing on a high volume stretch of highway means it has returned full circle to a location close to its working origins.

“Although OTR tyres make up to 25 per cent of ‘end of life’ tyres in Australia each year, they make up only four per cent of recovered tyre waste rubber.

“This collaboration between TMR and our industry partners supports the Queensland Government’s commitment to a more sustainable future through our Environmental Sustainability Policy and Waste to Resource Strategy.”

Executive Director, Technology and Leadership, Australian Flexible Pavement Association, Anna D’Angelo, said they are pleased to be collaborating with the Queensland Government to reuse OTR tyres which would previously have been a waste product ending up as landfill.

“Through our members, AfPA is keen to promote the sustainability of our industry by protecting the environment and moving toward a circular economy.

“AfPA is proud that its members mobilised in positive support of this exciting environmental project. On behalf of our members, we were involved right through the project, from arranging supply of the crumb rubber, to being involved in the research process, to providing technical guidance and feedback.”

Asset President BMA, BHP Mitsubishi Alliance, said this collaborative approach provides the mining industry a sustainable way to reuse tyre waste that would otherwise end up in landfill.”

“It will have a positive impact on the environment, as more than 6,000 tonnes of tyres can be used to seal roads.

“This is a great example of how the by-products of mining can be used to positively affect the local communities where we operate.

“We look forward to exploring how we can now further expand this trial to other road surfaces around the country.”

  • One giant mining tyre provides 3.55 tonnes of crumb rubber.

  • One giant mining tyre weighs 4.2 tonnes (8 kilograms for a standard tyre).

  • One giant mining tyre can be used to seal up to 3.5 kilometres of rural highway.

  • OTR tyres include specialist mining, agricultural, construction, manufacturing, and aviation tyres; and because of their size and composition, they are different to normal on-road truck and car tyres.


Most Popular