New boss steps into in­terim role at Mill

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Shane Ni­chols

LONG­TIME as­so­ciate of Moss­man Cen­tral Mill, Alan John­stone, is re­turn­ing as gen­eral man­ager, fol­low­ing the de­par­ture of Haydn Slat­tery last week.

The Mill has been a vir­tual home to Mr John­stone who first worked there in 1982, and has served var­i­ous stints, in­clud­ing as gen­eral man­ager from 1999 to 2012.

He left when Mackay Su­gar bought the mill but in the past cou­ple of years has been work­ing as a man­ager of the mill’s cap­i­tal works pro­grams.

Mr John­stone said that “at this stage it is just an in­terim role un­til it’s more fi­nalised as to where Mackay are go­ing”.

While the mill is now busy with its an­nual crush – com­plet­ing week 4 – its fu­ture is up in the air since Mackay Su­gar de­cided it needed to exit mill own­er­ship in Moss­man so it could tend to its more prob­lem­atic mills fur­ther south.

It’s been ac­tively look­ing for a buyer, in­clud­ing among the lo­cal and Table­lands cane­grower as­so­ci­a­tions.

It also comes at as time when grow­ers who have not made sound pric­ing ar­range­ments in the fu­tures mar­ket are deal­ing with much lower world su­gar prices.

Moss­man Mill plant avail­abil­ity was above bud­get for week 3 along with bud­geted weekly through­put.

The fac­tory pro­cessed 45,086 tonnes of cane at an av­er­age crush­ing rate of 326 tonnes an hour.

The ma­jor down time dur­ing the week was due to a choke in the pri­mary juice pipework, a fi­bre build-up in the pre­pared cane el­e­va­tor, mud screw drive fail­ure and fac­tory shut­down for boiler tube re­pairs.

The com­mer­cial cane su­gar av­er­age to date is 11.56, which just slightly bet­ter than last’s fairly poor fig­ure.

Mr John­stone said he had a brief look at the fig­ures this week and he thought the out­look for the CCS was “en­cour­ag­ing”.

“It’s still early days but it’s look­ing very en­cour­ag­ing.

“It’s a good stand­ing crop and it’s been quite cool.”

Pic­ture: SHANE NI­CHOLS

Alan John­stone takes overat Moss­man Mil

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