Peter Bourke, the owner of Commercial Mine Recycling scrap metal merchants at Paget.
Peter Bourke, the owner of Commercial Mine Recycling scrap metal merchants at Paget. Stuart Quinn

Business empire built from crushed cans

EXCLUSIVE: Peter Bourke has built an empire from a pile of crushed drink cans.

Now his decade old scrap metal recycling business in Paget will more than double after it got approval to build a new facility on Maggiolo Dr.

Mr Bourke opened Commercial Mine Recyclers facility at 6 Len Shield St in 2010 - with one shed.

Business grew so quickly he took over the neighbour's shed in 2013 and by 2015 had purchased the lot next door.

"Scrap metal dealers don't always have a great name, we've been honest with everyone we've dealt with, and we may not have made money on every deal and that's fine, but we kept our word," he said. "It's something we pride ourselves on and it's worked well for us.

"I would say... that block over there [in Maggiolo Dr] in five years, we'd probably be looking at expanding... it just depends what the wife says."

Mr Bourke hopes to break ground on the new site soon, and with the expansion expects to hire at least six more people, grow the new steel part of his business and sell more recycled material overseas.

He reckons turnover is at least one million dollars more than last year - growth has been exponential.


Commercial Mine Recycling Scrap Metal Merchants in Paget. Owner Peter Bourke
Commercial Mine Recycling owner Peter Bourke. Stuart Quinn

The business, which Mr Bourke runs his wife, son Ronnie and one of his sons-in-law, recently employed an extra set of hands.

"By the time I realised it wasn't just a rush, and I would hire somebody, by that time I was still one person short," he said.

"It's organised chaos, everything you see out here is money."

The business deals with everything from brass to steel, drink cans to bull-bars and copper wiring to car batteries.

He pays $1.15/kg for crushed cans. Recyclable metals come into the yard via private sellers and through CMR skip bins around the region.

His crew recently stripped the old Collinsville Power Station.

"It cost me close to $900,000 just to get in it and do the job, we shipped a lot out of there like the brass in the transformers," he said.

Mr Bourke moved his family up from Toowoomba a decade ago after spending a week in Mackay and spotting the business potential.

"The opportunities, I couldn't have done this in Toowoomba... where we are now," he said.

Commercial Mine Recyclers sponsor a number of community events, because as Mr Bourke sees it, he wouldn't be here without the people of Mackay.


Commercial Mine Recycling Scrap Metal Merchants in Paget. Crushed beer cans
Crushed beer cans at Commercial Mine Recycling, Paget. Stuart Quinn