500,000 tonnes: How local mill plans to take on Coast’s cane
In the wake of the MSF Sugar’s Maryborough Mill closure, Isis Central Sugar Mill is set to crush the neighbouring growers’ cane.
In order to transport the cane efficiently, a material change of use application has been lodged with the Bundaberg Regional Council for a Cane Transloading Facility (Utility Installation) at a site on Browns and Goodwood Rd.
According to the proposal documents, the Maryborough closure comes after more than 5000ha of cane farmland was sold to be repurposed for macadamia trees.
“However, MSF Sugar has a cane supply agreement with growers which extends to the end of the 2022 season,” the proposal reads.
“The remaining cane is set to be crushed at the Isis Central Sugar Mill.
“To do so, however, requires the transport of approximately 500,000 tonnes of cane from field collection points around Maryborough to the Isis mill.
“Rather than haul that cane the full length by road, including via the Bruce Highway through the Childers CBD, ICSM has explored various options.
“The most viable and readily implemented of these is to use the existing Browns Road siding and upgrade it to transfer the cane from road transport to rail.”
The document states, without it [this project], canegrowers in the Hervey Bay, Tiaro and Maryborough districts are at risk of no mill being able to take their cane.
“This application seeks approval to increase the annual tonnage of cane transported through the site’s transfer facility from the existing 50,000 tonnes (approximately) to 500,000 tonnes,” it reads.
“ICSM proposes to transport cane to the site by B-doubles, approximately four per hour, 24 hours per day, for approximately 150 days of the year during the crush.”
This application seeks a development permit to make a material change of use (being a material increase in the intensity or scale of a use) for the utility installation:
- increasing the throughput of cane from approximately 50,000 tonnes per
annum to 500,000 tonnes per annum;
- lowering and straightening a section of cane rail;
- constructing the cane transfer station;
- constructing access for B-doubles, including ramps to and from the cane
transfer station and a turnaround area.
“The cane presently brought to the site in haul-out trailers and trucks would need to be taken to other rail sidings after the implementation of this proposal as the facilities would not suit those vehicles,” the proposal reads.
“Only vehicles from the Maryborough district would be able to use the transfer station.”
The NewsMail has reached out to the Isis Central Sugar Mill for comment.