Mill officially handed over to Far Northern Milling today

AGRICULTURE INNOVATION

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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(From left to right), Cynthia Lui (state member for Cook), Liza Giudice (FNM board member), Bronwyn Dwyer (Manager, Tableland Growers), Rajinder Singh (FNM board member), Maryann Salvetti (FNM chairperson), Don Murday (FNM board member) and Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu at today's announcement at Mossman Mill. Image: Howard Salkow.
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Mossman was today referred to as a ‘real frontier of innovation’ following Far Northern Milling (FNM) announcing it had secured ownership of the Mossman Mill to transition the site into a bio- refinery that uses the latest in green chemical technology.

Following 28 months of intense and extensive discussions involving the state and federal governments, Far Northern Milling chairperson Maryann Salvetti said the acquisition has created an opportunity for growers to take control of their own destiny.

“This will ensure the continued prosperity of the wider Mossman community,” she said.

Mrs Salvetti said while there have been challenges along the way, she was always confident this would happen.

“The different levels of government believed in us (FNM) and thanks to them and Douglas Shire Council we have made this happen,” she said.

The State Government contributed $25 million, the Federal Government $20 million and Council’s commitment was $250,000.


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Warren Entsch, the Federal Member for Leichhardt and a driving force behind this initiative, was full of praise for Mrs Salvetti.

“She was tireless in her efforts and in the on-going discussions. She deserves a huge amount of credit for this reaching fruition,” said Mr Entsch.

The State member for Cook, Cynthia Lui, said this a great day for all concerned and ensures a good future for the Mill and Mossman.

In congratulating the group of sugar cane growers for their persistence to secure the mill, Douglas Shire Council Mayor Julia Leu pointed out this is the first grower group in the country to buy back a sugar mill.

Mayor Leu said the historic project would diversify the Douglas Shire economy and secure the long-term future of the sugar cane industry.

“Every level of government chipped in to make this sale happen,” she said.

“This is an exciting time for Mossman as the mill transitions into a bio-precinct that adds significant value to the mill’s operation and our local economy

“Not only will Mossman be a real frontier of innovation, we will also see a burst of new jobs in our region and more money flowing into our local businesses,” said Mayor Leu.

Mossman and Tableland Canegrowers and the Australian Cane Farmers Association worked closely together to form Far Northern Milling, and in July last year announced that they had conditionally purchased the mill from Mackay Sugar.

Mrs Salvetti said as of late last Friday afternoon, she was extremely excited to announce that the group of growers from Mossman and Tablelands, who had supported her Board over the last 28 months, now owned Mossman Mill. 

"I would like to acknowledge the contributions from Douglas Shire Council and the Federal and State Governments.

“They have supported our business case to transition the mill from an exporter of sugar onto the world market to a bio-precinct, which will add significant value to the feedstock from the mill and ultimately provide consistently higher returns to both the growers and the mill,” said Mrs. Salvetti.

With the Mill secured, the focus for the Far Northern Milling team going forward will be to secure the value adding projects which will be built on the bio-precinct land adjacent the mill.

"We will be working quickly to assemble a project team to lead our value adding process. This team will scrutinise the technology, marketing and offtake agreement potential, before providing recommendations to the Board on the bio-precinct projects that we will take to final investment decision.

“As growers we are extremely excited at the prospect of producing high value products which will see us become price makers instead of price takers,” said Mrs Salvetti.

“We are also excited for the Mossman community to be able to share in the prosperity through job creation and business growth. This has been a win-win for every stakeholder connected with Mossman Mill and the community as a whole,” she said.

The sale of the Mossman Mill to the growers has paved the way for Mackay Sugar and the Mackay region growers to finalise their recapitalisation process with German company Nordzucker.


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