30 May 2007 – The civill work for hte first of its kind (FOIK) furfural plant, using SupraYield technology, has started. ABC Rural reports ..  The first on-site civil works for a Furfural plant at the Proserpine Mill have began, albeit a bit later than expected.

It’s the first of its kind in Australia and the Proserpine Sugar Milling Co-Operative believe it could generate an extra four to five million dollars in net profit for the mill each season.

The general manager of the mill Chris Connors says the plant will not be in production for this years crush as originally hoped, but should be ready by April next year.

Mr Connors says the delays are due to a slow approval process “and probably rightly so. It’s the first furfural plant to be built in Australia and it’s the first furfural plant using this new technology to be built in the world so the processes we went through were very rigorous.”

He doesn’t expect any further delays now that construction has begun and is keeping within budget.

Local growers say they are disappointed by the delay but still see the project as a positive.

Tony Jepperson is a cane grower from Bloomsbury and he says he can’t wait to see it off the ground, whenever that may be. “It’s the direction we have to go to make sure we’re sustainable long term”.

As far as the Proserpine Canegrowers organisation are concerned the delay in works will not have an economic impact on growers in the region.

The chairman Peter Quod says growers wouldn’t have included any extra revenue that may have come from the plant into their budgets for this season. “We expected it to be delayed. It is a good idea we’re telling the farmers this is going to be an extra income for them. It’s just a wait and see at the moment.”

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