Sugar mill forced to burn coal
The cost of coal has forced a temporary closing of the only sugar refinery in north Queensland.
Mackay’s Racecourse Mill, a joint venture between Mackay Sugar and Sucrogen, was closed last Thursday because it was no longer able to burn bagasse, cane waste that’s a by-product of the milling process. Bagasse was unavailable because rain washed out cane harvest.
Mackay Sugar CEO Quenton Hildebrand says work is now resuming, with coal firing the mill, despite the added expense of the carbon tax.
“But it’s a relatively small aspect of it. It really comes down to the price of the coal we receive in,” he said.
“Also, when we are burning bagasse, we are also making renewable energy certificates. Those obviously attract income.
“When we are operating on coal we don’t earn renewable energy.”