Sugar producer Tongaat Hulett on Monday launched a R550-million 90 000 t/y refinery to process brown sugar into white sugar at its Mozambique-based Xinavane sugar mill.
The refinery will produce its first product in September 2018.
Mozambique is a growing market and has a shortage of refined white sugar production, with some 90% of the country’s sugar needs currently imported.
Current sugar consumption in Mozambique is low at 9 kg per capita per year compared with its neighbour Zimbabwe at 21 kg per capita per year, and in some rural areas consumption is as low as 4 kg per capita per year.
The production from the Xinavane refinery will replace imports and the refinery design will provide for efficient future expansion to match growth in the local market and in export opportunities.
“The design and engineering of the refinery will innovatively integrate proven technology with state-of-the-art Tongaat Hulett process and equipment design to produce high-quality white sugar, meeting international standards and the requirements of the most demanding customers,” the company said in a statement on Monday.
Tongaat Hulett’s prior strategic investments in Mozambique has established the Xinavane mill and estates as the largest, most efficient sugar producer in the country, with a capacity of 250 000 t of brown sugar, close to Maputo’s port and concentration of industrial users and customers.
The new refinery will unlock the domestic refined sugar market for Tongaat Hulett.
It will be aligned with the Mozambique government’s industrialisation policy, as well as its efforts towards the attainment of a positive balance of trade.
It will also strengthen the company’s regional position by increasing its refined sugar production capacity, as production in excess of local markets requirements will be exported to favourably-priced regional African refined sugar markets.
“The Mozambique government has expressed strong support for the domestic sugar industry and a preparedness to provide investment incentives and maintain policies, regulations and supportive measures conducive to the success of a project to build a sugar refinery, and its subsequent successful operation.”
Tongaat Hulett has sugar refining capacity in South Africa and Zimbabwe totalling some 680 000 t/y.