Mossman marvels

Mossman Mill returned to the community


Agribusiness
TENACIOUS: Cane growers in the Far North are celebrating after a cooperative won the fight to return the Mossman Mill to the community.

TENACIOUS: Cane growers in the Far North are celebrating after a cooperative won the fight to return the Mossman Mill to the community.

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Cane growers have regained control of the Mossman Mill, becoming the first local grower group in Australia to buy back a sugar mill.

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CANE growers have regained control of the Mossman Mill, becoming the first local grower group in Australia to buy back a sugar mill.

About 110 growers from Mossman and the Tablelands formed a cooperative to buy back the mill from Mackay Sugar, which acquired the asset in 2012.

Far Northern Milling Company Pty Ltd was formed to oversee the transaction, which was approved last Friday after more than two years of negotiations.

Far Northern Milling director Maryann Salvetti said the acquisition would secure the future of growers in the region and the entire Mossman community.

Ms Salvetti said the cooperative would transition the mill from an exporter of sugar onto the world market to a bio-precinct to tap into renewable energy opportunities, with by-products being created at a processing facility on adjacent land.

"With the mill secured the focus for the Far Northern Milling team going forward will be to secure the value adding projects, which will ultimately provide consistently higher returns to both the growers and the mill," Ms Salvetti said.

"We are extremely excited at the prospect of producing high value products, which will see us become price makers instead of price takers.

"We are also excited for the Mossman community to be able to share in the prosperity through job creation and business growth."

Canegrowers chairman Paul Schembri applauded the growers for taking control of their futures.

"The growers of the Mossman and Tableland regions have dreamt big, committed their money and are now seeing this deal become a reality," Mr Schembri said.

"Their vision to develop a bio-precinct in the town is providing leadership for their community."

The federal and state governments and Douglas Shire Council supported the deal.

Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch applauded the growers' tenacity.

"The farmers have taken up the challenge and invested a huge amount of money over a 10 year period and effectively taken back the farm," Mr Entsch said.

The acquisition paves the way for German company Nordzucker AG to buy Mackay Sugar, with stakeholders in the region set to vote on the transaction.

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