MILLS EXPECTED TO START
Three sugar mills are expected to restart crushing today, after shutting down operations for Diwali. The mills are, Labasa, Lautoka and Rarawai. Penang is closed after the damage done by Tropical Cyclone Winston. This Diwali shutdown is normal each year as most farmers celebrate the festival. No harvesting is done a day before Diwali. Lautoka Sugar Mill was expected to begin at 4 this morning but this would be reviewed in light of the present wet weather. The mill’s general manager Viliame Savou said they would first check on cane supply. “We presently have some sugar cane on the rail carts in the yard and I saw some more at Sabeto waiting to be hauled to the mill,” Mr Savou said.
As mill operations were closed, the locomotives would have started pulling the rail carts by last night. “We would also be waiting to see what sugar cane is being brought by the lorries.” Mr Savou has urged farmers to make an extra effort in getting sugar cane harvested and delivered to the mill. He said the wet weather would definitely affect cane supply but was hopeful farmers made an effort to have it harvested and transported to the mill. As of Saturday, the Lautoka Sugar Mill had crushed around 280,000 tonnes of sugar cane producing about 29,000 tonnes of sugar. Mr Savou said the TCTS (Tonne of Cane per Tonne of Sugar) was around 9.5. This figure would be good considering the mill would have crushed less cane to produce a tonne of sugar. Mr Savou said the Lautoka Mill was ready and there were no problems to affect crushing.
Trucks outside the Lautoka Sugar Mill on Saturday.