STARAFRICA Corporation has doubled its capacity to 600 tonnes of sugar per day buoyed by an upgrade at its Goldstar Sugars Harare refinery plant, an executive has said.
Speaking at the company’s annual general meeting in Harare yesterday, Starafrica general manager Marvelous Sibanda said the plant capacity had more than doubled to 100%.
“The plant’s capacity has doubled to 600 tonnes per day from 300 tonnes. We upgraded 60% of the old plant,” Sibanda said.
The plant upgrade started last year and would cost over $7 million. The upgrade is expected to be completed in three weeks’ time.
Giving the company’s trading update, Starafrica chief executive officer Sam Mushiri said during the quarter under review, management had been focusing on four deliverables, plant upgrade for Harare refinery, supply arrangement, disposal of non-core asset and the scheme of arrangement.
“The plant at the Goldstar Sugars in Harare is in the last phase of commissioning and the product is already coming out. It is pleasing to report that initial assessment indicates that the product and processer are within the quality and productivity parameters,” he said.
“We contacted all the suppliers of the new equipment and these parameters include the colour of the refined sugars which is less than that certified by our most demanding customers — the beverage bottlers. Other parameters relate to process losses during manufacturing that’ should be within 4%, reduction of coal consumption from around 35% down to about 20% and the reduction of water usage through the application of water recycling technique.”
Mushiri said to date, the company has hosted more than 12 commissioning engineers and process technologists from India during the course of the project.
He said the last batch of engineers from the suppliers was now on site to finalise the commissioning exercise which will be completed in three weeks.
He, however, said although Starafrica was out of the market for over a year due to the implementation of the plant upgrade, the company had continuously engaged customers to meet their expectation and was confident it would meet the expectation of the entire market segment.
“As we speak, we have started releasing sugar into the market and the uptake is encouraging,” Mushiri said.
He said the move by government to introduce a sugar tariff had levelled the playing field and would assist in ensuring that there was fairness on the market.
“We also want to put our gratitude to government for putting in place a sugar tariff regime to protect local industry from dumped imports from global sugar markets,” he said.
Mushiri said the company continued to be in discussions with the Zimbabwe Sugar Sales on the price of key strategic raw materials which constitute about 70% of the input cost.
The companies agreed and are currently procuring at the price of $510 per tonne effect from September 1, he said.
Mushiri said the trading environment continues to be tough.
“. . . there was no trading activity at Gold Star Sugar’s Harare refinery due to activity with the plant upgrade, but Country Choice Foods operated profitably during the year under review and post reporting period. Star Logistics continue to operate well and was largely focusing on their long-term contract transporting platinum or exports to South Africa,” he said.