Rarawai, Labasa Mill Damage Around $4M

Damage to the Rarawai and Labasa sugar mills and structure caused by the re­cent flooding has been estimated at around $4 million. This was confirmed yesterday by the chief executive
14 Apr 2018 11:00
Rarawai, Labasa Mill Damage Around $4M
FSC chief executive officer Graham Clark at the FSC headquarters in Lautoka on April 13, 2018. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Damage to the Rarawai and Labasa sugar mills and structure caused by the re­cent flooding has been estimated at around $4 million.

This was confirmed yesterday by the chief executive officer of the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC), Gra­ham Clark.

Also, with the present estimate of five per cent reduction in the fore­cast of over 1.8 million tonnes for the season, about 80,000 tonnes was damaged by the floods but this esti­mate is expected to rise to around seven per cent loss once the full as­sessment was done.

However, he remained optimistic that although more damage was done to the Rarawai mill and a lit­tle to the Labasa mill, workers were working around the clock to repair and get the mills ready for crushing which is likely to start in June.

In an interview, Mr Clark said the main damage was caused to ma­chinery which was submerged un­derwater and other infrastructure around the mills.

“Recovery efforts continue at FSC’s Rarawai Mill and Labasa Mill, after widespread flooding brought by Tropical Cyclone Keni, which followed Tropical Cyclone Josie.”

“Back to back and widespread flooding caused by these two suc­cessive cyclones over one week has delayed recovery efforts at both mills, however, FSC management is encouraged that the worst is over and focus has now shifted to exten­sive recovery efforts in all affected areas.”

“Critical machinery such as the mills’ turbines and boilers were spared this time around, and the impact was more on low-lying ma­chinery such as electric motors, pumps, transformers and cables, which were submerged beneath flood water.”

Rarawai Mill Manager Taito Kafoa said the water level during TC Keni was lower at two feet, compared to what was experienced during TC Josie, a week earlier.

“Our major concern at this stage is the cleaning and repair work on the mill water supply,” Mr Taito said.”

“The mill is currently being sup­plied with water from mobile water tankers.”

FSC’s Northern mill in Labasa suffered no major structural dam­age.

However, the Namoli Dam which is the main source of water to the mill has been affected and as a tem­porary solution and to prevent fur­ther deterioration, mill engineers are putting in place structures to secure the abstraction point.

Permanent repair work to the dam will be carried out later this year.

Labasa Mill Manager Michael Faktaufon said they were current­ly engaged in cleaning out the silt and mud from pumps and motors, which were covered by water”.

Like Rarawai, water to the mill is being supplied from mobile water tankers.

Recovery work at both mills is ex­pected to take about two weeks.

The Lautoka Mill was unaffected by the adverse weather and this was attributed to good drainage which coped well with flood water and no major mill structures or equipment were affected.

“We have taken a double hit with these back-to-back cyclones and related flooding, but we are com­mitted as a team to get through this and get back on track as soon as possible,” Mr Clark said.

“Our people remain resilient and rebuilding efforts are well under­way.”

“Our thoughts remain with our growers and their families as they have suffered the most”.

Mr Clark paid tribute to a number of his employees, especially those in Labasa led by management who had taken their time out to help people in need during the recent floods.

“They helped elderly people move things in and out of homes and even helped stop flooding in certain areas by clearing drains.”

“I am really happy that our em­ployees went out of their way to do this.”

Crop and Field Infrastructure


“Similar to the update after TC Jo­sie, our estimates of damage to the cane crop indicate losses along the banks of rivers and creeks, as well as in low lying areas,” Mr Clark said.

“Our team is currently assessing the extent of the cumulative dam­age to the crop. In addition, many roads, bridges and crossings have been damaged with the full extent currently being evaluated

“Cane access roads and culverts will need significant repairs which have already commenced.

“De-silting and re-forming of drains in all affected areas are also underway.”

Edited by Mohammed Zulfikar

Got A News Tip

Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.

By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.

For All Fiji Sun Advertising
Fijisun E-edition