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Jun 20, 2018

$22 Million DC Sugar Expansion Project Ahead of Schedule at B.S.I.

A twenty-two-million-dollar project to expand and enhance production at the sugar mill at Tower Hill, Orange Walk is proceeding ahead of its schedule. The huge project was launched last year, but today the American Sugar Refinery/Belize Sugar Industries Limited invited the media to show that the expansion was well ahead. When completed, it is expected that twenty thousand tons more of direct consumption sugar will be produced. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Last year September, American Sugar Refinery/Belize Sugar Industries Limited broke ground for a twenty-two million dollar project that would see the expansion of the mills at Tower Hill. The Direct Consumption Sugar Expansion Project was estimated to be completed in eighteen months, but less than a year later, the installation of equipments and infrastructure is ahead of schedule. Those include the upgrade to the boiler room, a newly introduced sugar conditioning component and the construction of a warehouse and a tank to store sugar and molasses respectively.

 

Nolberto Leiva

Nolberto Leiva, Production Superintendent, ASR/B.S.I.

“We had the body house expansion which is one part of the phase one project; that included a number of equipments that will enhance the production of direct consumption sugar and increase the milling rate of our factory. Some of those including the boiling house; we have a new batch vacuum pan with a capacity of two thousand cubic feet. We also have a strike receiving which will accommodate the material that will be discharged from the vacuum pan. In addition to that, we installed one of the most modern centrifugal machines to centrifuge the direct consumption sugar. It has a capacity of about forty-five cubic feet of mass width per hour. In addition to that we have the syrup treatment system which was added to increase the production of direct consumption sugar. That is syrup clarifier with all its auxiliary equipments which includes reaction tanks, buffer tanks for the storage of clarified material, syrup heaters and we also have a seek receiver.”

 

Mac McLachlan, VP International Relations, A.S.R./B.S.I.

“We have put in place some sugar conditioning at this mill. I believe that’s the only mill in the region to have that technology. Sugar condition essentially conditions the sugar by getting the sugar into a constant state. It puts conditioned air through the sugar which enables it to maintain its quality for long period of time. It helps with package and it is basically a very high quality food grade sugar that’s being produced as a result of that.”

 

The investment, when completed, is expected to increase production of value-added, direct consumption sugar by twenty thousand tons per year to fifty thousand metric tons. This translates into higher price compared to raw sugar and opens market opportunities for the industry where caneros and the millers have a production sharing agreement.

 

Mac Maclachlan

“Traditionally, this mill and many other mills in the Caribbean have produced raw sugar which were to be exported for refining purposes in the European Union. Last year, in October the European Union sugar regime changed and constraints on the production of beet sugar were removed and that meant that beet sugar producers were able to produce as much sugar as they wish. This they did and overnight, the EU switched from becoming an import to an export market of sugar to the tune of something like four million tons of sugar. As a net result of that, any preference in pricing that Caribbean, in particular ACP countries have enjoyed in the past, disappeared overnight. The future I believe for this industry and for many industries in the Caribbean must be in producing higher value types of sugar rather than relying on traditional raw sugar supplies. The reason these sugars are value added, higher valued products, they don’t need to be refined again. They are high quality sugars which go from here into the export market straight on to the table; packaged and on to the table. As a result, we get a higher value for those sugars.”

 

The 2017-2018 crop season is coming to an end and over one point two million tons of sugar cane were brought to the mills. But with the increased capacity of the mill, are farmers able to meet the demands for more of the sweet stocks of vegetation?

 

Mac McLachlan

Mac Maclachlan

“Net result for us here and for the farmers is that we will have an increase input of cane, starting now actually, but it is towards the end of the crop so the real benefit will be felt next year. But even this year, we’ve managed to produce more direct consumption sugars as a result of the project.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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