Anglo American initiative gives rubber waste new life

Anglo American

Anglo American has announced a new initiative to transform rubber waste products such as used mining truck tyres and conveyor belts into useable raw materials.

The recycled items will come from Anglo American’s five metallurgical coal mines in central Queensland, and be distributed to Novum Energy Australia, which will convert the rubber into materials such as heavy and light oils, carbon black, syngas and steel.

It comes as Anglo American puts in place measures as part of its Sustainable Mining Plan, with the intelligent disposal of waste to play a part in the company’s broader goal for carbon neutrality across its operations by 2040.

Anglo American metallurgical coal chief executive officer Tyler Mitchelson said the partnership represents his company’s embrace of circular economy opportunities.

“We have the opportunity to play a role in reshaping the economy towards a more sustainable path and contribute to creating new industries in the region,” he said.

“The new facility is located in the Banana Shire where our Dawson metallurgical coal mine is located.”

Novum will begin construction on a thermal recovery processing facility within the Biloela Industrial Estate, a first-of-its-kind plant in Queensland set to employ up to 25 full-time staff once fully operational.

“Our partnership with Anglo American has enabled Novum to construct this industry-first technology in regional Queensland which will be able to process up to 8000 tonnes of waste tyres and conveyor belts each year from 2022,” Novum managing director Rowan Kendall said.

“By applying a thermo vacuum technology we aim to use the gas recovered from recycling the rubber to generate electricity to supply power to the processing plant and surplus electricity to EV (electric vehicle) charging stations to be built onsite.”

Anglo American announced an update on its Grosvenor mine restart plans last week, with first development coal washed in September at the Queensland mine.

The company is currently undertaking a staged approach at the mine with the aim to recommence longwall operations by the end of 2021, subject to the approval of the Queensland Mines Inspectorate.

It follows on from a methane ignition accident that injured five people in May 2020, suspending operations as a result.

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