NORTH Queensland's "only tyre recycling plant" is an innovative $2 million gamble for Mackay's Johnny Farming Company and its joint partners, says businessman John Galea.
But if all goes well, newly founded JMJ Tyre Recycling, based in Paget, and Chinese-based Candon International and Lionheart International could hit the jackpot - and provide significant environmental benefits while they're at it.
Mr Galea, who is also involved in ventures like trucking, prawns and cane farming, will officially open the plant tomorrow with Mackay Regional Council Mayor Greg Williamson.
The 69-year-old Mackay resident said the new plant, which he estimates cost about $2 million to fit out with the required machinery, employs six people and may provide jobs for six more if all goes to plan.
"The new tyre recycling plant recycles used car, truck, agricultural tyres and converts these into 100% recycled products," Mr Galea said.
"Steel in the tyres is removed via magnets within the machine and then sent to a steel recycling facility and the rubber is crushed in the machine and recycled into a powder.
"The end product can be used for numerous products such as roads, speed bumps, rubber floors for playgrounds, sports venues (tennis and basketball courts, running tracks), rubber mats, rubber, bricks and tiles, etcetera.
"We are currently in negotiation with multiple organisations to supply them with our crumbed rubber powder to be used in bitumen on roads and rubber floors for playgrounds."
Mr Galea believes there are only three other tyre plants in Australia with similar capabilities.
"The plant produces four sizes of rubber powder, which separates our tyre recycling plant from others in Australia...the only other plant that we know of that can produce such fine rubber powder is located in Melbourne," he said.
"Our new tyre recycling plant has created new jobs for our region and the benefits from this plant will create a flow-on effect to local businesses.
"A bigger picture benefit of the plant is the substantial difference it will make on our environment.
"The dumping and landfill of old used tyres is a major problem for our environment. We hope that our plant can do its part in caring for our environment and the place we live in."
Mr Galea said JMJ Tyre Recycling would charge about $3 to dispose of a car tyre, while a truck tyre would cost $7. Other types will be negotiable.
Currently, Mackay Regional Council has tyres disposed of at its waste facilities transported to South East Queensland to be recycled.
It will be looking into using the services of JMJ Tyre Recycling instead, depending on various factors.
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