Where the Rubber Meets the Road — Tire Recycling for Rubberized Asphalt

Large yellow mining dump truck driving on a dirt road at a quarry with a clear blue sky in background.

Teck is working to reduce waste and pollution, keep products in use and help to improve the natural environment where we operate.

An innovative pilot project at our Trail Operations and Neptune Terminals in British Columbia involves recycling a challenging form of industrial waste generated from mining to enhance the longevity of paved surfaces, with the potential to divert and remove thousands of tonnes of waste haul truck tires from waste storage sites. The global asphalt road-building industry is using recycled rubber in certain asphalt mixes to enhance road quality and demonstrate sustainability in action. For Teck, this project is paving the way to increase recycling of industrial waste and develop a sustainable second life for waste haul truck tires.

Once haul truck tires have reached the end of their use, they are sent to a third-party that separates the rubber. This rubber is then added to a mix and shipped to paving companies to introduce the material into asphalt while paving. The rubberized asphalt has been installed at Trail Operations and Neptune Terminals. At Trail Operations, a single lane of the two-lane roadway has been paved with rubberized asphalt, with the opposite lane paved with regular asphalt mix. This allows the site to compare the two lanes for performance wear and cracking over the next several years, with both subjected to equal amounts of traffic. At Neptune Terminals, core samples taken a year after the installation of a rubberized asphalt mix in an active operating zone confirm that the paved areas that include the rubberized mix are performing better than regular asphalt.

Adding to the circularity goals of this pilot, rubberized asphalt has been proven to last up to five years longer than regular asphalt, which means less maintenance and extended pavement life. The rubber is also effective in reducing pavement fatigue, and when it’s replaced, can be recycled and blended back into a new batch of asphalt. Rubberized asphalt has also been proven to perform better in areas using studded tires, de-icing and snow plowing. It can function as a sunscreen by preventing reflective cracking, it produces less road noise and is more aesthetically pleasing in urban centres.

The potential impact of diverting mining haul truck tires from waste storage sites to roadways is significant. Approximately 10,000 tonnes of waste rubber is generated annually from mining haul truck tires at our sites and repurposing those volumes could reduce Teck’s waste disposal and improve road quality and longevity.

Read more about our approach to Circularity and Responsible Production on our website.  



First published on March 01, 2024