$ 520 million Ingham venture set for December start: NQBE
Sugar mill ‘ on track’
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.