First sugar shipment to leave ‘in a few weeks’

Sugar cane Cane tipped over for the 2019 crushing at Labasa Mill. Picture: FT FILE/SERAFINA SILAITOGA

ABOUT 170,000 tonnes of cane has been crushed and about 16,500 tonnes of sugar produced so far from the Labasa and Lautoka mills, says Fiji Sugar Corporation CEO Graham Clark.

“Our TCTS (tonnes cane needed to produce a tonne of sugar) has come down to 11.8 from 12.3 last week,” he said.

“However, we want to get this below 10.”

Mr Clark said the first sugar shipment for the 2019 season would depart our shores in a few weeks’ time.

“We will have 34,000 tonnes of sugar to go out to the UK from both Lautoka and Labasa.

“We will do about 9000 tonnes in Labasa and the balance will be from Lautoka.

“This is roughly a 50-50 split between Lautoka and Labasa.”

Mr Clark added that the mills were performing to expectations.

“Lautoka is going very well, with a much lower level of breakdowns when compared to this time last year.

“Last week we took a scheduled stop on Sunday to do a lot of maintenance.

“There was a short stop yesterday to repair one of the conveyors, the rotor fell off and had to be re-welded.”

Mr Clark said because of the extensive refurbishment work conducted to the Rarawai mill boiler, some fine-tuning work was being done which had resulted in stoppages.

He said the mill was expected to resume crushing at 4pm on Thursday.

However, cane lorry operators contacted this newspaper on Thursday night, saying mill staff had informed them the mill will not start until after 8pm.

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