The Bingera sugar mill near Bundaberg will not crush again as the mill operator Bundaberg Sugar Limited (BSL) says it will close the site this year.

Chief executive Guy Basile said BSL was streamlining its operation to just its Millaquin mill in Bundaberg.

“One thing has become clear; the Bundaberg region tonnage figures of the past years, including the 2020 crush, cannot justify BSL running two mills in the region,” he said.

“Millaquin is more than capable, thanks to our ongoing investments in the future of BSL.

“At the current crop size, BSL mills are operating at around only half capacity.”

Bingera mill had one of the worst seasons in its history, only crushing 450,000 tonnes of sugar cane.

The total BSL crush this year was just over 1 million tonnes, which was down from 1.8 million in 2016.

Consultations with workers

BSL management has started consultations with employees and unions across its whole operation.

As for growers, not much will change according to Canegrowers Bundaberg chair Allan Dingle.

“From what I understand the mode of transport for all growers to Millaquin mill will be the same as what it was previously,” he said.

“If you’re on a railway line service you’ll still be on exactly the same bin delivery system.

“Bundaberg Sugar has said all their contracts will be honoured.”

Mr Dingle said farmers still need more information from BSL.

“The only point, probably, that’s going to be an issue will be season length,” he said.

Mr Dingle said the news was difficult news for the industry.

“It’s really sad that that’s happened,” he said.

“That mill’s been operational for well over a hundred years.

“It seems to be a sign of the times in our local area; for whatever reason, the [other] crops are moving in.

“There’s quite a few of those growers that are still there that are committed to growing cane and will continue to grow cane.”

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