Now that the floodwaters across the Northern Rivers have almost fully receded, the Sunshine Sugar management team has been able to gauge to what extent the three NSW sugar mills and refinery have been impacted.
It has been reported that the sugar mill at Condong had a metre of water throughout the site, which was slightly higher than the 2017 flood event. Whilst the clean-up continues to be impacted by the lack of power, water and communication systems, the Recovery Team that is in place are confident of being able to have the site fully operational by mid-June.
The extreme flooding of the Richmond River has seen the Broadwater sugar mill experience a record amount of more than two-and-a-half metres of inundation and it is the hardest hit of the NSW sugar milling facilities. The damages list includes numerous motors, pumps, and control systems as well as some office buildings, workshops and equipment.
The co-generation plants co-located at the Condong and Broadwater sites were also impacted by the flood event and have recovery plans in place to get those plants back on-line.
On the Clarence, water came through the Harwood sugar mill and refinery location at approximately 1.2m in most places, which left a 10cm layer of silt over most of the site. Fortunately, flood waters did not reach the Packing Floor, Raw Sugar Shed or any of the Warehouses which operate all year. Although some buildings and equipment experienced inundation, the site is expected to be fully operational well ahead of the annual crush.
Chief Executive Officer, Mr Chris Connors said; “Despite the challenges ahead, we are confident of having the three mills up and running for the 2022 crush. The business has insurance policies in place and a claims assessment team is currently on-site coordinating the work to be undertaken, establishing a recovery plan and appointing appropriate contractors. These people are highly qualified to manage such a recovery and bring the resources, contacts, and inventory access needed in managing the recovery effort.”
Outside of the milling operations, Sunshine Sugar has people actively out talking to growers and assessing crops, farm infrastructure and cane pads. It is anticipated that it will be some time before a clear view of crop and farming losses is ascertained.
[23 March 2022]
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