SUNBIZ

Sugarcane Trucks Diverted To Lautoka

Rarawai Mill ceased operation last Friday, after the shaft for the carrier section broke.
09 Sep 2020 14:00
Sugarcane Trucks Diverted To Lautoka
Around 400 sugar cane trucks were diverted from the Rarawai Mill in Ba to the Lautoka mill at the weekend.

Around 400 trucks laden with sugarcane were diverted to the Lautoka Sugar Mill from Ba at the weekend, after the Rarawai Mill suffered a major breakdown.

Fiji Sugar Corporation chief executive officer Graham Clark said the Rarawai Mill ceased operation last Friday, after the shaft for the carrier section broke.

It was the same shaft that caused the mill to stop work two weeks ago.

Mr Clark said a new shaft was made over the weekend, and the mill was expected to be back in operation by yesterday afternoon.

Stoppage

“We had to send around 400 trucks down to Lautoka during the stoppage, and it was good the mill was performing well,” he said.

“The Lautoka Mill was averaging daily crushing of over 5000 tonnes.

“There were some trucks that could not make it down to Lautoka and have remained here at Rarawai Mill.”

Congestion

The entrance to the Lautoka Mill was congested throughout the weekend as trucks from Ba lined up alongside others the regular Lautoka suppliers at the mill.

The trucks spilled over to a vacant area on the Marine Drive side, beside the large molasses tanks and alongside tramlines.

Sugar Cane Growers Council chief executive officer Sunil Chaudhary said most of the trucks from Ba were diverted to Lautoka.

Resumption

He said he received an influx of telephone calls from farmers enquiring about crushing dates for the Rarawai Mill.

Mr Chaudhary credited the management and performance of the Lautoka Mill to enable the continuation of cane crushing of cane this season.

In another development, FSC said in a statement the cumulative crush to date compares to an equivalent tonnage of 787,491 tonnes crushed in 2019 – an increase of 12 per cent year on year.

Each of the three mills have crushed more than for the same period last year – Lautoka 10 per cent more, Rarawai 20 per cent more, and Labasa eigfht per cent more., FSC said.

Acceptable

The overall mill throughput to date remains acceptable, with operating time efficiency nine per cent better than last year, and average weekly mill stoppages 32 per cent lower, according to FSC.

FSC said the performance was driven by strong cane supply and mill breakdowns that were 12 per cent lower than in 2019.

Sugar production at 77,702 tonnes to date is slightly higher than for the equivalent period in 2019, FSC said.

FSC said Lautoka Mill crushed a total of 32,472 tonnes of cane last week – which was eight per cent higher than the target figure and the highest for the same period in the past three years.

Low cane quality was possibly also caused by Rarawai cane delivered during the weekend which was several days old.

The per cent burnt cane increased to more than 66 per cent during the week also impacting negatively on cane quality and TCTS.

Rarawai mill crushed a total of 13,346 tonnes of cane for the past week, which was only 49 per cent of the mill target for the week.

Operations

Mill operations were hampered by various issues in the crushing, feeding and boiler stations during the week.

The C3 mill feed chute choked and had to be bypassed early Wednesday morning.

The damaged and temporarily repaired cane carrier head shaft also broke last Friday causing the mill to close in order for a new shaft to be installed.

Machining works for the new shaft were competed over the weekend.

Parallel repair work was also carried out on the C3 mill feed chute and a problematic boiler conveyor was replaced.

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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