VERNON, British Columbia — Japan's Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and Canada's Kal Tire have agreed to form a joint venture that will work to find customers and commercial applications for materials generated by Kal Tire's thermal recycling activities.
The new business, to be based in Chile, will focus initially on finding markets for materials such as carbon black, oil and steel recovered from scrap mining tires by Kal Tire at its recently opened thermal conversion facility in Antofagasta, Chile, according to Mitsui, a global trading and investment company with a diversified business portfolio.
By working together, Mitsui and Kal Tire aim to contribute to providing solutions to tackle environmental and safety issues in mines, as well as to the realization of a circular economy in the mining and tire industries.
Kal opened the mining tire recycling plant in Chile in March 2021.
At full capacity, the 215,000-sq.-ft. facility will be capable of processing on a daily basis over 9,000 pounds of tires, the equivalent of five 63-inch earthmover tires, Kal Tire said at the time. The facility is located in the heart of Chile's mining industry, which Kal Tire has been serving for decades.
Processing 9,000 pounds of tires will yield 1,700 gallons of alternative fuel, 1,820 pounds of steel and 3,650 pounds of carbon black as well as enough synthetic gas to fuel the plant itself for seven hours, Kal Tire said.
The carbon black can be used as a raw material for tires and industrial rubber products, Mitsui said, while the oil could be sold for various use such as refining processes, and the steel can be sold to scrap metal foundries.
Through this project, Mitsui and Kal Tire plan to expand the mining tire recycling business globally and aim to establish operations in other mining regions including North America, South America, Australia and Africa.
The partners did not disclose what shares each will own of the joint venture nor offer any sales/revenue expectations for it.
Tokyo-based Mitsui has been active in the mining business since the 1960s and has contributed to maintain the stable supply of metal resources in Japan and other parts of the world. This would be its first foray into tires.