$ 520 mil­lion Ing­ham ven­ture set for De­cem­ber start: NQBE

Sugar mill ‘ on track’

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - TONY RAGGATT tony. raggatt@ news. com. au

THE pro­po­nents of a $ 520 mil­lion sugar mill at Ing­ham say they re­main on track and that peo­ple are read­ing too much into the plant­ing of cane over part of the pro­posed site.

One of the own­ers of the land, who did not want to be iden­ti­fied, also con­firmed the move to plant cane over about 2ha was one they had taken to cap­i­talise on their hold­ings.

The chair­man of North Queens­land Bio- energy Cor­po­ra­tion, Robert Carey, said yesterday the landown­ers had ap­proached the board seek­ing to plant cane.

NQBE an­nounced it had en­tered into a con­tract to buy cane farm land for the sugar mill pro­ject at Como Road, south of Ing­ham, in 2009.

Mr Carey said NQBE had agreed to re­im­burse the landown­ers if the cane had to be re­moved be­cause of con­struc­tion work for their pro­ject.

“The sim­ple an­swer is too many peo­ple are read­ing too much into this,” Mr Carey said.

“If we start in De­cem­ber, and I would like to think we are, that cane will be ploughed over and they will get re­im­bursed ( for the value of cane).”

NQBE have been work­ing on the pro­ject for about a decade, with Mr Carey also a di­rec­tor of de­vel­op­ment com­pany Ethanol Tech­nolo­gies Ltd, which has a pi­lot plant at Har­wood, NSW, and is work­ing to prove cel­lu­losic tech­nol­ogy to pro­duce sug­ars from wood, bagasse, crop stub­ble and green waste.

In March, NQBE an­nounced it was work­ing on an al­ter­na­tive fund­ing model for the Ing­ham pro­ject and again pushed back a com­mis­sion­ing time from June 2017 to 2018.

Mr Carey said the fund­ing model, which cast the mill as an in­fra­struc­ture pro­ject with a re­new­able energy com­po­nent, was gain­ing trac­tion.

Clean Energy Fi­nance Cor­po­ra­tion CEO Oliver Yates said they were sup­port­ing the Ing­ham pro­ject but stressed the need for more gov­ern­ment and pri­vate sup­port.

Mr Carey said they had set an “ag­gres­sive” dead­line of Septem­ber 30 for fi­nan­cial close.

In­dus­try sources say the suc­cess of projects like Ing­ham’s de­pend on whether the State Gov­ern­ment sets a suf­fi­cient long- term ethanol man­date to drive de­mand for ethanol.

NQBE chair­man Robert Carey.

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