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Wilmar Sugar has reached a milestone in a $6 million pan replacement project for Proserpine Mill, with all of the major components lifted into the factory.

A 600-tonne crawler crane was engaged to carry out the three big lifts – the heaviest of which was the 37-tonne calandria component.

Proserpine Mill workers are now completing installation of the new pan vessel ahead of this year’s crush.

Mackay regional operations manager Craig Muddle said the No.6 pan replacement project was the biggest capital project for Proserpine Mill this year.

He said the crane that lifted the pan components into place was the biggest in Universal Cranes’ fleet and the largest ever used at Proserpine Mill.

“It has a 90m boom and engaged 150 tonnes of superlift ballast weight to do the big lifts,” he said.

The 115-tonne capacity pan is a key vessel on Proserpine Mill’s pan stage, where sugar crystals are grown. The new vessel will improve sugar production rates and sugar quality at the mill.

Mr Muddle said he was particularly proud that the new pan had been designed and built entirely in-house.

“Everything – from design through to installation – is being done by our own workforce as part of Wilmar’s strategy of bringing manufacturing back to the regions, upskilling our people and providing more year-round work at our mills,” he said.

“The bottom cone was built on-site at Proserpine Mill, the pipework was fabricated at Plane Creek Mill Workshop, and the top cone, body and calandria were built at Wilmar’s Burdekin Centralised Workshop.”

The new No.6 pan vessel will be commissioned in May, ahead of the 2021 crush.

A new No.3 pan will be fabricated at Wilmar’s workshops next year and installed at Proserpine Mill ahead of the 2023 crush.