Kal Tire and Mitsui joint venture signing ceremony at Kal Tire headquarters. Front row L to R: Shigeki Shibayama, GM, Living & Environmental Business Division; Dan Allan, SVP, Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group; Hiroshi Kakiuchi, COO, Performance Materials Business Unit. Back row L to R: Doug Lemiski, SVP Business Services, Kal Tire; Iain Butler, VP Finance, Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group; Ken Chaun, SVP Stores, Kal Tire.

Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group and Mitsui & Co. recently formed a joint venture aimed at advancing mining tire recycling solutions for mining regions around the world. At a time when many mines are striving to act on ESG commitments, the collaboration will support burgeoning demand for solutions to handle end-of-life mining tires in ways that lead to the best and highest use of recycled rubber products and promote a circular economy.

“Mines are challenging themselves to demonstrate environmental stewardship, and yet in many regions, sustainable OTR tire recycling solutions aren’t yet available,” said Dan Allan, senior vice president, Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group. “Mitsui’s global reach, mining experience and commitment to affecting positive change gives us a path to scale solutions so we can reach many more mines much more quickly and help solve this enormous environmental challenge.”

In addition to providing mining tire management and supply at more than 150 mine sites across five continents, Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group offers a range of sustainability solutions to help mines extend tire life, divert scrap and reduce their carbon footprint. One of those solutions is a thermal conversion OTR tire recycling facility in Chile, where scrap ultra-class tires are converted to their base elements (carbon black, oil and steel) for reuse. Virtually 100% of the tire can be reused.

Among Mitsui’s expansive global operating segments are mineral and metal resources, chemicals, energy, iron and steel products, and machinery and infrastructure. With an aim to promote sustainability and realize a circular economy, Mitsui is focusing its investment in the mining industry on environmental solutions. Both Mitsui and Kal Tire recognize a growing demand for mining tire recycling and recycled rubber products, specifically for carbon black and rCB.

“We are pleased to announce that Kal Tire and Mitsui will be starting a collaboration in the mining tire recycling business,” said Hiroshi Kakiuchi, COO, Performance Materials Business Unit, Mitsui & Co., Ltd. “Waste tires currently piled up at mining sites are becoming more urgent and increasingly an issue for mining companies these days, and we are proud to be able to provide a real and sustainable recycling solution together with our partner.”

Kal Tire’s thermal conversion recycling facility in Chile is the first operating facility of its kind, and the two organizations aim to collaborate on commercializing the plant starting early 2023. The Chilean plant provides the foundation as the joint venture pursues opportunities to bring OTR tire recycling solutions to mining regions around the world—leaning on Kal Tire’s technology and service to mines, and Mitsui’s experience with chemical and engineering innovation, downstream markets and as shareholders and stakeholders inside mining organizations. Together, the organizations will help companies understand the value of mining tire recycling and act on ESG commitments.

“We’re seeing far greater uptake from customers when they explore ESG, including recycling, and we’re also seeing more interest in carbon black solutions from manufacturers,” Allan said. “We’ve invested significantly in a solution at the top of the recycling hierarchy because we’re committed to solving our customers’ challenges, and Mitsui is the ideal partner to scale, evolve and invest in mining tire recycling so it can become a standalone industry that meets demand and inspires a greener future.”