Babinda bets on biorefinery push
A SMALL Far Northern town is crying out for a biorefinery at a demolished sugar mill site.
Babinda Chamber of Commerce floated the idea when US biotechnology firm Amyris announced it was considering the construction of a biorefinery in Queensland.
Babinda Chamber of Commerce vice-president Gene Chamberlain said the town needed an economic boost.
“If it is going to employ people from the town, then that is what we need,” he said.
An economic development plan for the town identifies an opportunity to take advantage of the sugar milling industry’s move into other products.
“Proposals have been developed to establish in the Babinda area, biomass production of electricity and other products based partly on sugar cane trash,” the plan said.
The old sugar mill site is owned by MSF Sugar and is located next to the Bruce Highway.
MSF Sugar chief executive Mike Barry said the block was not suitable for such an industrial development.
“For a biorefinery, you typical need to be bolstered on to a milling operation,” he said.
“You wouldn’t build one from scratch.”
Mr Barry said the company had received no formal approaches about a biorefinery proposal in Babinda.
“These are very … complex projects,” he said.
The 27.9ha mixed-use development site has a $4 million price tag and considered suited for a truck stop.
The State Government is pushing an Advance Queensland Biofutures 10-Year road map and action plan.