Mossman Sugar Mill is the most northern raw sugar factory in Australia. Each year between June and November, they crush approximately 1 million tonnes of cane and deliver over 130 thousand tonnes of raw sugar to the Bulk Sugar terminal in Cairns. They also produce molasses, mill mud and bagasse as by-products.
Delegates from the XV World Congress of Rural Sociology were greeted by Deby Ruddell of Far Northern Milling and treated to a by-invitation only tour of the only Australian-owned sugar mill and one of the oldest.
Complete with hard hats, high visibility vests, safety glasses and earplugs, delegates were taken through the mill from where the billets of cane were hauled in cane-bins by road and rail, to the weighbridge and the shredders. Deby explained the process of milling, juicing, clarifying and the role of the evaporators.
“That for 100 tonnes of cane, they would evaporate approximately 75 tonnes of water. The resultant liquid contains about 65% sugar and the sugar is now ready to be crystallised.”
Delegates were pleasantly surprised to hear that every part of the cane plant was utilised; the leftover fibre from the milling train ‘bagasse’ is burnt to generate steam which powered and heated the entire factory. “Nearly five megawatts of power can be generated. Power not used by the factory is exported to the grid and used by the community”
Much discussion was generated by the delegates who compared the processes, policies and practices of sugar mills in their home countries to Mossman Sugar Mill.
For more information, contact DRuddell@fnmilling.com.au