Pioneer pilots new technology
Pioneer Mill lived up to its name in the final weeks of the 2012 crushing season, becoming the first Australian mill to test new mud filter technology.
A horizontal vacuum bed press filter was installed in the factory in October and operated from 1 November to the end of the crushing.
Commonly used in Brazilian mills, the technology offers an alternative to the traditional rotary drum mud filters.
It uses three different filtration mechanisms – gravity, pressing and vacuum – to recover residual sugar from mud settled in the clarifier.
Pioneer Mill Engineering Manager Robert Borg and Production Manager Doug Sockhill visited Brazil earlier this year to see the filter in action.
Pioneer Site Manager Paul Turnbull said the expected benefits of the technology were:
• Lower capital cost to replace current mud filters
• Fewer maintenance and operational issues
“We are also looking at whether the system has potential to be better able to manage finer soils, which often cause problems with filtration in the mills,” he said.
“The Pioneer milling area’s variable soil quality was one of the key reasons Pioneer was chosen as the test site within Sucrogen, as well as the fact we had a rotary filter due for replacement.
“If the filter’s performance can be proven at Pioneer Mill, it is likely to be more robust in operation at other sites with less variability in their mud quality.”
Should the $1.2 million trial prove successful, Sucrogen will look to install more of the filters at other sites.
However, Cane Products Operations General Manager Mike McLeod said the plan was not to make rotary mud filters extinct.
“We’re more likely to have a combination of both in operation at the mills,” he said.
“It’s still early days but the Pioneer trial has gone well, so far.
“We’ll continue to trial the technology during the 2013 season.
Hat trick for Inkerman apprentice
Inkerman apprentice Andrew Fiamingo claimed a hat trick at last week’s Sucrogen Burdekin Electrical Apprentice of Year awards - taking out the prize for his year level for the third time in as many years.
Andrew wasn’t the only back-to-back winner at this year’s presentation, held at the Pioneer Mill Social Club last Thursday.
Second-year Pioneer apprentice Dean Vartuli and 4th-year Invicta apprentice Ben Chrichton also doubled up on last year’s wins to take out the prize for their respective year level.
Pioneer Mill Senior Electrical Engineer Leo Kenny said while the trio were consistently strong performers, they had some close competition.
“There were a lot of positive comments made about many of our apprentices this year,” he said.
“The standard of this year’s second-year apprentices was particularly high.
“All of their electrical managers had good things to say about them.”
The awards are held annually to recognise and reward high achievement among electrical apprentices at Sucrogen’s four Burdekin mills. Mr Kenny said prizes were given to the best apprentice from each year level, as well as a safety award and most improved.
“The apprentices are judged on their practical skills, theoretical knowledge, safety commitment, attitude and initiative,” he said.
The safety award went to 2nd-year Invicta apprentice Aaron Aguirre. “Aaron is actively involved with safety at the site and does good work around risk assessments,” Mr Kenny said.
The winners were:
1st year – Justin Byers (Kalamia)
2nd year – Dean Vartuli (Pioneer)
3rd year – Andrew Fiamingo (Inkerman)
4th year – Ben Chrichton (Invicta)
Safety – Aaron Aguirre (Invicta)
Most improved – Andrew Kennedy (Kalamia)
Prizes were donated by electrical and safety equipment suppliers NHP, Haymans Electrical and Schneider Electric.
Herberts best apprentices recognised
Three Herbert-based Sucrogen apprentices have been named among the best in the Far North Queensland’s sugar industry.
Fourth-year apprentices Beau Mombelli, Levi Gould and Brennan Zanghi were each recognised at an awards ceremony at Tully Sugar Mill last week.
Held annually by the Far North Institute of Sugar Milling Engineers (FNQISME), the awards recognise the leading apprentices from the seven sugar mills which operate between Ingham and Mossman.
Macknade Site Manager Adam Douglas said nominees for the awards were chosen by each site’s engineering manager. “The apprentices are judged on their quality of work, attitude, attendance, safety compliance and TAFE results,” Mr Douglas said.
“We have three awards in the Herbert"
“Victoria and Macknade mill each have one for their best dual-trade Fitter/Fabricator apprentice and then there is an award for the best Electrical apprentice for the region.”
Beau and Brennan took out the respective Fitter/Fabricator awards for Victoria and Macknade mills, while Victoria Mill-based Levi won the Electrical award.
Stay safe for school holidays
Students get school holidays but cane trains don’t.
That’s Sucrogen’s message to the thousands of students who will start two weeks of school holidays from the end of this week.
With crushing now under way in the Herbert, Burdekin, Proserpine and Plane Creek regions, Sucrogen’s cane trains are operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Sucrogen Grower and Community Relations General Manager John Pratt said school holidays were a higher-risk time for Sucrogen’s Cane Supply and Transport departments, with young people more likely to be out and about across the districts.
“We urge young people to stay safe and remember to look out for cane trains while they’re out enjoying their holidays,” he said.
“Children should never play, walk or ride their bikes or quad bikes on cane railway tracks."
“They also shouldn’t fish or dive off cane railway bridges."
“Our cane trains are constantly on the move throughout our milling regions, so you never know when one may come along.”
Although cane trains travel at relatively low speeds, they take a long time to stop because of the large weights they haul.
A fully-laden cane train travelling at 32km/h without a brake van will take almost one kilometre to stop after braking commences. With a brake van, it will still take almost 800m.
This means even if a locomotive driver sees something or someone on a cane railway track, they may not be able to stop in time to avoid hitting them.
Mr Pratt said school holidays also meant there would be an increased number of tourists driving through cane-growing regions.
“Motorists should approach all cane railway crossings with caution and obey all signs and signals,” he said.
“People should always give way to oncoming cane trains.
“We urge people to take care and stay safe these school holidays.”
Sucrogen sponsors of V8's until 2013
Sucrogen has renewed its exclusive naming rights sponsorship of the Sucrogen Townsville 400 V8 Supercars Championship until 2013. This is in addition to supplying the official fuel of the V8 Supercars – sucrogen bioethanol E85.
We’re proud to be able to support the event again, after successful weekends over the past three years. It’s another example of our commitment to sustainability, demonstrating to the public that quality and responsibility can go hand-in-hand.
The CEO of V8 Supercars, David Malone, was open in his praise of Sucrogen’s support of the event, saying we have been “an outstanding on and off track partner for V8 Supercars for a long period.”
This year’s festivities will include Australian legends Jimmy Barnes and Jon Stevens. Kurt Sakzewski is the GM of V8 Supercars, and was glad that Sucrogen extended its support.
“We’re really proud of the last three Sucrogen Townsville 400s. They’re a great platform for us to build on this year – it’s one of the best family events on our calendar.” The Sucrogen Townsville 400 is being held at Reid Park, in Townsville, from 6-8 July.
Proserpine creditors approve sale of mill to Sucrogen
Sucrogen, the Australian-based sugar subsidiary of Singapore-listed Wilmar International Limited, looks forward to an exciting future as the new owner of Proserpine Sugar Mill after a majority of Proserpine creditors, by number and value, voted today to approve Sucrogen’s purchase of the mill.
Sucrogen CEO Ian Glasson said the creditors’ vote was a great outcome and paved the way for the sale transaction to be completed immediately.
“The positive result means creditors will be paid, in full, before Christmas,” Mr Glasson said.
“We are grateful to have received such strong support from creditors, who have clearly shown faith in us and our plans for the Proserpine region.”
Sucrogen’s offer comprised a headline price of A$120 million, plus a working capital adjustment, normal settlement adjustments, as well as absorption of the mill’s normal operating costs and certain critical capital expenditure incurred from 31 October 2011.
Mr Glasson said while Sucrogen was pleased to finally purchase the mill, it was disappointing the sale was not possible before the Co-operative was placed into voluntary administration.
“The negative campaign Tully ran to derail the first two member votes has, ultimately, cost members a substantial amount of money in administration and legal fees,” he said.
“Critically, it has also delayed capital and maintenance at the mill."
However, the transition to Sucrogen management and leadership will begin immediately and we will hit the ground running next week and do our best to ensure the mill is ready for the start of 2012 season, despite the lengthy delays.”
Mr Glasson said Wilmar had expressed a strong interest in working with growers to help expand Proserpine’s sugar industry.
“We look forward to a long and productive relationship with local growers, Proserpine Sugar Mill employees and the whole Proserpine community.”
Sucrogen enters agreement with Proserpine Administrators for the sale of the mill
Sucrogen, the Australian-based sugar subsidiary of Singapore-listed Wilmar International Limited, has entered into an agreement with the Administrators of Proserpine Sugar Mill to purchase the assets of Proserpine Co-operative Sugar Milling Association Limited (Proserpine).
Sucrogen CEO Ian Glasson said the agreement effectively preserved and enhanced the value offered to Proserpine Members in the most recent Member vote on the special resolution to sell the mill’s assets to Sucrogen. “The current agreement comprises a headline price of A$120 million, plus a working capital adjustment, normal settlement adjustments, as well as provisions whereby Sucrogen will absorb all of the mill’s normal operating costs and certain critical capital expenditure incurred from 31 October 2011 until completion of the transaction,” he said.
Under the terms of the agreement, Sucrogen will also provide interim finance, via a second commercial loan facility of A$15 million, to support the operation of Proserpine and fund operating costs until the sale can be completed. Following the most recent Member vote, the Board of Proserpine determined that they were unable to secure sufficient funding from rival bidder COFCO/Tully to repay existing debts and allow Proserpine to fund its ongoing trading obligations. Consequently, the Board of Proserpine placed the business into voluntary administration.
“The Administrators, from insolvency specialists KordaMentha, will seek approval for the transaction by creditors, pursuant to a Deed of Company Arrangement, that will be determined at the second meeting of creditors, to be held on or before 12 December 2011,” Mr Glasson said. “Should our agreement be approved by creditors, we hope to have the transaction completed before 31 December 2011, which will provide growers, employees and other stakeholders with certainty regarding the future operation of Proserpine Sugar Mill.”
Sucrogen announces agreement to acquire Proserpine Mill
Sucrogen announced today its agreement with Proserpine Co-operative Sugar Milling Association Limited (PCSMA) to purchase the business assets of PCSMA, on a debt and cash-free basis, for A$115 million. Subject to approval by PCSMA members, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the satisfaction of other customary conditions precedent, the purchase of Proserpine would increase Sucrogen’s throughput capacity to around 17 million tonnes of cane, and raw sugar production by about 10 per cent, to 2.2 million tonnes. Proserpine also produces molasses and exports electricity as well as recently investing in facilities to manufacture and market furfural, a globally traded industrial chemical used in solvent extraction, foundry resins and pharmaceuticals.
Sucrogen's four Burdekin mills crushing
Despite showers affecting cane supply in some areas of the district, all four of Sucrogen’s Burdekin mills are now crushing. Invicta, Kalamia and Inkerman mills started crushing late yesterday, five days after Pioneer Mill fired up for the 2011 season.
Increased capital investment in Plane Creek Mill
A large capital program is under way at Plane Creek Mill ahead of the 2011 crushing season. Keen to improve on the mill performance of recent seasons, Sucrogen has made a significant investment in the factory this year.
Sucrogen welcomes costs agreement
Sucrogen is pleased all millers who supply Queensland Sugar Limited (QSL) have agreed with QSL to deal fairly with the $105.5M extraordinary marketing costs resulting from the weather-affected 2010 crushing season. The parties have agreed the costs reside in QSL’s Shared Pool and should be distributed across all pools.
Victoria Mill offers green waste solution
Mountains of green waste collected across the Hinchinbrook Shire in Cyclone Yasi’s wake could end up helping to power Sucrogen’s Victoria Mill during the upcoming cane crushing season. As part of an agreement formed with Hinchinbrook Shire Council in the days after the cyclone, Sucrogen will allow some of the expected hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of green waste to be stockpiled on the Victoria Mill site, outside Ingham. There, it will eventually be woodchipped, with a view to trialling a blend with bagasse to be used as a supplement boiler fuel for Victoria Mill’s boilers during the 2011 crushing season.
Memorable start for new apprentices
Cyclone Yasi ensured Sucrogen’s 21 new apprentices had a memorable start to their trade training. The company’s Burdekin and Plane Creek apprentices started work in the week of the cyclone, while the Herbert’s had their first day on the job last Monday, amid the huge recovery effort. The budding electricians, fitter and turners and boilermakers are employed across Sucrogen’s seven sugar mills.
Graduates pit their skills
Graduate engineers from Sucrogen’s Cane Products business were firing on all cylinders when they participated in a pit crew challenge in Townsville, at the home of the Sucrogen Townsville 400 V8 Supercars event. The Pit Crew Challenge: High Performance Teams program is designed to build teamwork, enhance leadership skills and boost motivation using Townsville’s Reid Park pit lane facilities and hands-on exercises with a Team Vodafone V8 Supercar. The nine graduate engineers, employed at Sucrogen’s Herbert and Burdekin sugar mills in North Queensland, were the first to take part in the new high-octane corporate training program.
CSR Ltd completes the sale of Sucrogen to Wilmar
Wilmar International Limited buys Sucrogen for A$1.75m, adding a leading sugar business to its already successful agribusiness. The acquisition recognises the knowledge and expertise in sugar and renewable energy held in Sucrogen, and capitalises on the growing demand for sugar in the region.
Sucrogen signs distribution agreement with GLG for Stevia
Sucrogen, through its joint venture, Sugar Australia, has signed an Agreement with GLG Life Tech Corporation for the distribution and marketing of its Stevia extract products as an ingredient to the food and beverage sector. The distribution agreement covers the food and beverage sectors in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the Pacific Islands.
Agreement to sell Sucrogen for A$1.75 billion to Wilmar International Limited
CSR Limited announced today that it has agreed to sell its Sugar and Renewable Energy business, Sucrogen, to Wilmar International Limited (“Wilmar”) for an enterprise value of A$1.75 billion (excluding minority interests). The sale - expected to be completed by (or before) the last quarter of 2010 - is subject to the following conditions:
CSR proposed demerger - Full Federal Court decision
CSR Limited advises that the Full Federal Court today allowed CSR’s appeal in relation to the Federal Court’s decision of 3 February 2010 which declined to order the convening of a meeting of CSR’s shareholders to consider the proposed demerger of CSR’s Sugar and Renewable Energy business, Sucrogen.
Sucrogen to increase renewable energy capacity
Sucrogen has increased its renewable energy capacity, today announcing construction of a $24 million expanded electricity cogeneration facility at its Victoria sugar mill, north of Townsville. The project replaces two of the existing steam turbo-alternators at the mill with a single, larger capacity turbo-alternator capable of producing 19 megawatts (MW) of renewable electricity.
CSR Sugar to adopt Sucrogen branding across its business
CSR Ltd announced today that its market-leading sugar business will begin to adopt the corporate branding and identity of its new name, Sucrogen, from 1 March. The business will progressively adopt the new branding, including the new corporate logo, across its raw sugar milling and ethanol operations in Australia.
CSR proposed demerger – first court hearing
CSR limited advises that the Federal Court today considered CSR's application in relation to the proposed demerger of CSR’s Sugar and Renewable Energy business. The Federal Court declined to make the orders sought by CSR. The Board of CSR believes the strategy of separating its two very different operating businesses has the potential to create additional shareholder value.