While work continues to progress on construction of MSF Sugar’s Green Energy Power Plant, the milestone project has not had an impact on the start of the 2018 crush with the Tableland Mill on track to commence operations on Tuesday 5 June.
Tableland Mill Manager Kirk Lang said the factory had been prepared ahead of the crush to ensure a timely start and following successful steam trials early this month, growers and residents living nearby will soon be able to see the signature steam coming from the stack.
“Normal maintenance has been undertaken during the non-crushing season and we expect a good startup this year, with our usual high level of reliability and very little downtime for the factory throughout the crush.
“Our operations have not been impacted by construction of MSF Sugar’s first Green Energy Power Plant, which itself now has 185 people actively working on the site each day. This is in addition to the 172 people we directly employ during crushing season,” he said.
The Mill will operate 24 hours per day, 7 days per week until mid-November with an expected crushing rate of 195 tonnes per hour, and with the Green Energy Power Plant due to be turned-on mid-season to convert the Mill’s biomass waste into baseload electricity, the workforce is gearing up for a milestone year.
According to Mr. Lang, “This is a milestone crushing season for us as in addition to our regular operations, for the first time in MSF Sugar’s history the Tableland Mill will turn its 100 per cent renewable sugarcane fibre known as bagasse into baseload green electricity on a commercial scale”.
While estimates indicate an average sized crop, the region experienced a strong wet season this year with solid rainfall occurring during January and February, filling the Tinaroo Dam to a level of 96.3 per cent capacity.
This is a significant increase on 2017 levels which saw Tinaroo Dam sitting at 38 per cent capacity at the end of the 2017 crushing season.
With SunWater allocations to growers now sitting at 100%, the 2018 crop estimate of 712,000 tonnes is similar to the 2017 season, when the mill crushed a total of 708,572 tonnes of sugarcane.
Rain events aside, overall weather conditions continue to be favourable for growers and attention will soon turn to the all-important Commercial Cane Sugar (CCS) results, which provide an estimate of the sugar yield from cane supplied to the Mill. The most dominant sugarcane varieties for the region are Q228 and Q208.