A Change of Guard

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Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Massive sugar mill poised to expand

A man carries a bundle of sugar cane at a plantation.
A man carries a bundle of sugar cane at a plantation. Heng Chivoan

Massive sugar mill poised to expand
Wed, 20 April 2016 ppp
Sor Chandara

A Chinese-owned agricultural company inaugurated its $360 million sugar mill in northern Cambodia yesterday, after spending six years preparing land for the plantation and nearly two years building the sugar mill, which is billed as Asia’s largest.

Rui Feng (Cambodia) International Co Ltd, part of a closely linked group of Chinese firms with adjacent economic land concessions (ELCs) spanning nearly 9,000 hectares in Preah Vihear province, said the factory has the capacity to process 20,000 tonnes of sugarcane a day, producing 2,000 tonnes of refined sugar.

Kuy Yoeurn, an administrative assistant for the firm, said that the sugar refinery was just one facet of a much-larger industrial project, and would produce not only sugar but also ethanol, fertiliser and electricity.

“We will start by processing 20,000 tonnes of sugar per day at first, and after one year we will start to produce ethanol,” he said.

According to a document provided by the company, the plant has an annual production capacity of 360,000 tonnes of sugar, 50,000 litres of ethanol and 9 megawatts of surplus electricity.

The firm also plans to build two more sugar refineries to bring total production to around 1 million tonnes a year.

Addressing the inauguration ceremony, Prime Minister Hun Sen said there were five sugar companies invested in Cambodia, which has a capacity to produce 1.8 million tonnes of sugar per year but was currently producing just a quarter of that amount.

The prime minister endorsed the project, which he said would create up to 14,000 jobs, but urged the company to cooperate with local farmers and operate sustainably.

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