SUGAR giant Sucrogen will invest between $40-50 million in the Proserpine mill over the next five years, according to Mackay Regional Operations Manager Danny Van Der Berg, who oversees the mills at both Proserpine and Sarina's Plane Creek.
Mr Van Der Berg said the 2012 crushing season was due to finish within the next couple of weeks and for Proserpine it had been an "average" season in terms of performance and factory reliability.
"All in all I think we're fairly happy with progress in the first season [under Sucrogen's ownership], understanding we have a way to go in terms of our safety performance and overall factory reliability," he said.
The Proserpine mill was previously a co-operative, owned by local canegrowers for more than 100 years. At the end of last year it was sold to Sucrogen, who have since been implementing an integration plan, of which stage one is now complete.
Mr Van Der Berg said work had now started on stage two, which would be about processes and asset rehabilitation, "supported by a fairly large capital investment plan over the next five years".
"We do realise it's a journey. The employees have had to deal with a lot of change. We're very cognisant of that and very happy with the way they have embraced Sucrogen and our long-term business focus," he said.
Mr Van Der Berg said Sucrogen also realised that the mill's profitability was in the volume of cane.
"There is no substitute for cane through the door so we're continuing to pursue cane growing strategies as well as leveraging synergies within Sucrogen to be able to extract the best productivity from the site," he said.