Piles of tires have made their way through the recycling process north of Ponoka, although not all has gone as the county or company that is involved has planned.
Ponoka County council was provided an update at its Oct. 9 meeting on the status of passenger and giant mining tires (GMT) being shredded by National Tire Recycling at its facility along Bobtail Road.
CAO Charlie Cutforth explained that a combination of delayed contract payments, higher than anticipated operating and capital expenses has put financial pressure on the project. This will likely see the county still owning the shredding machine it fronted the money for.
“We needed some financial information to gauge the implications to the county and with the monthly operating support necessary — by the time the program tires are completed, we are still going to own the shredder but all of our associated costs will be covered,” he stated.
Part of the county’s concerns stem from wanting to finish up what they started — getting rid of the passenger tires and then focusing on clean up the mountains of Giant Mining Tires (GMTs). The issue now though is there is a need for more equipment to continue the processing of the GMTs and that means more money, something the county isn’t willing to put up.
However, the situation may just be starting to turn around, following a recent meeting, said Cutforth.
“Since we have been chasing this issue, Suncor has acknowledged ownership of 4,900 of those tires, so that’s really positive,” he explained.
“As a result, hopefully there will be another meeting with upper management soon.”
According to the county, the previous tire recycling company was paid to process 1,000 GMTs by Suncor. However, the records found show only about 100 were shredded. At a price of $250 per tonne, that would roughly translate into around $5 million for the extra 3,900 that are on site.
“So, there is some potential to enter into a contract with National Tire and Suncor seems very interested,” Cutforth added, noting the purchase of the extra equipment needed to prep the huge tires for shredding will be a hurdle.
“However, if Suncor is willing to do what ARMA has done, the county could broker the funds and ensure that the tires would be processed with Suncor getting credit but that the county would hold a deposit.”
If a deal is made with Suncor, Cutforth stated that would also mean the county would eventually be paid for the shredder as well.