Maryborough sugar mill’s $100-million resurrection as bio-energy hub

When the sugar factory at Maryborough closed two years ago it was the end of 126 years of crushing; now a new deal could see it brought back to life as a bio-energy hub.

Advanced Energy Group (AEG), an Australian-Japanese joint venture, announced it was close to finalizing a deal to buy the mill and use the surrounding cane to make renewable fuels.

“This will only serve to advance the region by strengthening further investment into current farming practices, bringing back jobs and increasing the economic outputs of the region.

“In basic form, this means also assigning the mill for alternate energy production [i.e. biofuels] in using all of the cane material as well as the implementation of new energy cane varieties.”

Maryborough Sugar crushed for 126 years before it was closed, and if it reopens could be the first of its kind to do so. (Supplied: Drew Schmidt, Lost Maryborough)

AEG expects to finalize the acquisition in a few weeks, and while the purchase price of the mill has not been disclosed, it is understood the project to transition the sugar factory to a fuel hub will cost $100 million.

Recommissioning would start immediately, with a view to crush cane again in 2023.

Pivot from food to fuel

Since crushing began in the late 1800s, mills have opened and closed as the industry shifted and consolidated.

But since the 1990s, the numbers have been in steady decline, with the last new mill built in 1998.


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