A MULTI-MILLION dollar upgrade of the Proserpine Mill is underway as part of this year’s off-season maintenance program.
Proserpine Mill site manager Danny Van der Berg said the $6.6 million worth of upgrades were essential to the mill’s “reliability and safety”.
The main focus of the project has been retubing the mill’s number-one boiler at a cost of more than $3.5 million.
This is the second stage in the boiler’s makeover, which is expected to be completed in the 2016 off-season.
Other projects include a $1.59 million investment in the boiler feedwater tank, $600,000 reheater replacement, $700,000 on turbine protection and $200,000 in centrifugal upgrades.
“If the steam and power plant’s not safe then it’s not good for the environment, it’s not good for the community and from a reliability point of view, the steam and power plant is the heart of the factory,” Mr Van der Berg said.
“If that doesn’t operate properly then nothing works properly, and it’s needed a big investment so that’s what we’re doing.”
This will also be the mill’s second year using its new boiler automation system, with Mr Van der Berg hopeful for its success.
“We expect that to run more smoothly this year,” he said.
“We’ve set ourselves ambitious operational targets for the season and are committed to achieving them.”
Based on current crop predictions, the mill can expect to crush significantly more cane than last year.
“The current estimate is 1.76 million tonnes but that could easily increase if the good growing conditions continue,” Mr Van der Berg said.