Milling performance needs to be improved

MILLING performance across Mackay Sugar's three factories needs to be improved.

This was the opinion of Canegrowers Queensland chairman Paul Schembri and Mackay Sugar chief executive officer Quinton Hildebrand yesterday.

Canegrowers will meet with Mackay Sugar representatives in the next few weeks to discuss the factories' efficiency, or lack of efficiency, during this year's crushing season.

"There have been some major breakdowns across the three mills. I think from our perspective, we think the milling performance could have been better," Mr Schembri said. "It's been a frustrating issue for us."

Mr Hildebrand agreed the milling performance needed to be improved.

This season in Mackay had generated a small crop with a high sugar content, which had been a challenge for the mills to process, he said.

"This has restricted the throughput," Mr Hildebrand said.

Farleigh Mill experienced the most breakdowns during this year's crush.

"There is a fair amount of planning work underway to improve the boilers out there," Mr Hildebrand said.

Boilers at Marian Mill were recently improved, which cost Mackay Sugar about $9 million.

A new boiler was installed at Racecourse Mill with the establishment of the Cogen project.

"I think the important thing is we need to get the cane crop to generate enough profits so we can spend money on the mills," Mr Hildebrand said.

Mr Schembri said mill breakdowns had extended the crushing end date.

"We had a crop of 5 million tonnes we were keen to crush as quickly as possible to maximise the returns," he said.

"Mill breakdowns can cause a lot of cost in the harvesting sector. They have people employed and it is a considerable frustration for them."

Mackay Sugar will hold its annual meeting next week.


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