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|US$13M reconfiguration for Skeldon Factory|
|Friday, 22 June 2012 22:29|
-- works to begin in September
THE SKELDON sugar factory continues to be plagued by inefficiencies affecting its functioning, contrary to reports from some sections of the media. This was revealed by Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO), Mr. Paul Bhim during an interview with this publication yesterday.
Bhim posited that GUYSUCO plans to initiate at that entity, works to the tune of US$13M, and upon completion, the estate would be expected to turn around the ailing sugar industry.
“The problems haven’t been fixed as yet, but they have identified the issues. We are working with our main customer to solve this problem… The parent company is an American sugar company in the USA.”
He noted that the South African firm BOSCH has been contracted to overlook the project, which includes correcting and redesigning the factory’s structure. Works, he said, are likely to commence in September this year.
Bhim pointed out that this project is expected to last for approximately one year, which will lend to production for the second crop.
“They are currently finalising the designs, and we will commence works in September of this year,” Bhim stated.
Part of the funds will go towards investing in an access road, drainage, bridges and aqueducts, which will see the works at the factory being undertaken in a more appropriate and timely manner.
GuySuCo has identified the major factors that are preventing the estate from reaching its full potential and design capacity. As such, it will undertake several major projects in both the factory and cultivation at Skeldon Estate.
Earlier this year, the company had outlined the projects, which included re-engineering the bagasse feed system, redesigning the cane conveyors, drilling a new well, replacing a 5MW alternator, modifying the punt dumpers, building a section of the all-weather road, upgrading the drainage and water management system, and converting additional lands for mechanized harvesting.
GUYSUCO anticipates that additional projects will be undertaken during 2013, resulting in significantly increased production.
The US$200M upgraded factory was supposed to be the flagship of the sugar industry, with a production capacity of 450,000 tonnes.
The aim of the Skeldon sugar project was to reduce the cost of production, improve sugar quality, increase sugar production above 450,000 tonnes, enhance the recovery of sucrose, reduce operational costs, improve operational efficiencies, and attract carbon credits.
However, since it began operating in 2009, the factory has been beset by mechanical and other difficulties, and production is yet to meet those heights, with total sugar produced nationally in 2010 being 220,000 tonnes, while 236,506 tonnes were recorded last year.
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