JSE-listed Illovo Sugar on Thursday said prospects for its proposed investment in the 190 000 t/y Markala sugar project (MSP), in Mali, remained constrained by incomplete funding of the agricultural component and incomplete undertakings required from the government of Mali.
Illovo had been appointed as the strategic partner in the MSP, which was scheduled to start production during this year.
The R2.6-billion project comprises two components. The agricultural component involves the establishment of a 14 132-ha irrigated sugar cane estate on the Niger river, in Markala, some 275 km north-east of the capital, Bamako. The estate is expected to produce 1.48-million tons of sugar a year.
The industrial component entails the construction of a sugar mill, an ethanol plant and a power cogeneration facility. The mill will have a cane crushing capacity of 7 680 t/d at full capacity, producing 190 000 t/y of sugar.
The sugar will be traded locally, as well as on the regional market, particularly in Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal.
The ethanol plant is planned to produce 15-million litres of ethanol a year, while the cogeneration unit will generate 30 MW/y of electricity.
The sugar group's statement to shareholders also coincided with claims by mutineering Malian soldiers that they had seized power and that a military curfew had been imposed.