BINGERA MILL: Stewart & Sons Steel rigger Mark Sheehan at Bingera Mill. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail
BINGERA MILL: Stewart & Sons Steel rigger Mark Sheehan at Bingera Mill. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail Max Fleet

Bundaberg Sugar crush remains on track

THE sugarcane crushing season is almost ready to roll with the final touches being put on a $8 million refurbishment of Bingera Mill, while the flood-damaged railways are almost repaired.

Bundaberg Sugar Operations manager David Pickering said Bingera Mill had received a significant overhaul during the off season.

"We've made a $8 million investment the refurbishment of the factory to things like boilers and process vessels," Mr Pickering said.

"The decision was made that we would invest quite strongly to ensure the viability of Bingera into the future."

Despite being significantly effected by the flooding, Bundaberg Walkers Engineering has played a big role in the refurbishment.

"We've had a lot of co-operation from Bundaberg Walkers, who have still been able to exceed the delivery expected on this equipment," Mr Pickering said.

The crush usually begins on the third Monday of June each year and despite the havoc caused by the floods, this year's crush will begin only one week later on June 24.

The flooding caused plenty of damage to parts of the rail network used to transport sugarcane around the region.

"Our factories are back on track and all the infrastructure is being fixed up," Mr Pickering said.

"The railway on the north side of the river is pretty much fixed now."

Mr Pickering said the major damage caused to lines near Millaquin Mill was in the process of being fixed.

"It was quite badly damaged there," he said.

"The yacht (on the tracks) has been moved and the council is doing temporary road repairs to allow us to get in and repair the lines.

"We hope that will all be fixed early in the crush."

Mr Pickering said last year saw 1.8 Millon tonnes of cane crushed and this year's expected haul would be about 1.5 million.

One of the biggest challenges expected this year will be from debris such as white goods and parts of homes and boats still in cane paddocks.

"We do expect to see a bit more extraneous matter like objects that have been lifted into cane land, so that will be a challenge during the harvest," he said.

"We will have people walking the paddocks during the harvesting to keep an eye on that and we will just need to be vigilant."