Sugar mills power up


SUGAR boss Greg Messiter has announced to canegrowers in the company's monthly newsletter that contracts have been signed for the construction of co-generation projects at Broadwater and Condong.

The NSW Sugar Milling Co-operative CEO refused to discuss the progress of the project with The Northern Star.

But in a copy of the article sent to this newspaper, Mr Messiter informed growers that contracts had been signed on April 15 with Downer and Clyde Babcock Hitachi consortium, with aims to produce electricity from mill waste.

Downer will be the principal contractor and supplier of the civil, mechanical and electrical items, Clyde Babcock Hitachi the supplier of two boilers and the mill to be responsible for site preparation and plant modification.

It reported that site preparation would start immediately after the draw down of funds, with contractors expected to be on site at Condong in August and Broadwater in December.

The anticipated commissioning dates were May 2007 for Condong and August 2007 for Broadwater.

Canegrowers approached by The Northern Star declined to comment, saying they feared repercussions, but were sceptical of the long-term benefits.

One grower said he was unsure who would be responsible should the project fall over.

"It's rumoured to cost in excess of $200 million ? what if there's not enough trash to fuel the plant?" he said.

Opposing the project from an environmental aspect, Broadwater Action Group president Elizabeth Bellinger said the mill's membersonly information came as no shock.

"When you've been on it for over five years you can practically read what they are going to do," she said. "We were on to the steam boiler firm two years ago."

Mrs Bellinger said the mill was supposed to send flyers out to the town's residents to inform them what exactly was going on with the project from the start.

"But the last one we had was a couple of years ago," she said.

She said her group believed the project would bring increased noise, dust and pollution into the small tourist town.

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