Mills can’t come quick enough

Townsville Bulletin - - Investor - with Tony Rag­gatt

IS the world econ­omy headed for a petrol-starved col­lapse? Should we have been pro­duc­ing more ethanol from sugar years ago?

The an­swer to these ques­tions is, maybe yes to a col­lapse caused by sky­rock­et­ing petrol prices, and def­i­nitely yes to ethanol pro­duc­tion.

It seems ma­jor projects to de­velop ethanol mills in the Bur­dekin and Her­bert dis­tricts can’t come quick enough with work to build the Bur­dekin Aust­cane plant set to start this year for com­mis­sion­ing in 2013.

The Her­bert North Queens­land Bio-En­ergy pro­posal re­cently de- ferred its start date to 2014 with pro­duc­tion in 2015 or 2016.

An­a­lysts are t alk­ing about $ US125 a bar­rel of oil as the eco­nomic pain thresh­old where growth turns to con­trac­tion.

Re­cent events in the Mid­dle East have served to un­der­line just how ex­posed the world is, and with prices al­ready around $ US100, just how quickly events could turn.

North Queens­land Bio-En­ergy Cor­po­ra­tion chair­man Robert Carey last week con­grat­u­lated Aust­cane on gain­ing its coun­cil ap­provals to pro­ceed.

‘‘ In 20 years time peo­ple will look back and say this was the start of a rev­o­lu­tion­ary change in the Aus­tralian sugar in­dus­try,’’ Mr Carey said.

‘‘ There will be multi-func­tional fac­to­ries right along Queens­land’s sugar coast­line.’’

Let’s hope they can be built soon enough.

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