New URC sugar mill in Negros now online
A unit of Gokongwei-led regional industrial powerhouse Universal Robina Corp. has switched on a new sugar mill in Kabankalan City in Negros Occidental, to cope with the growing volume of sugarcane output in the area.
The new mill inaugurated by URC’s sugar and renewables subsidiary, Southern Negros Development Corp.(Sonedco), can crush up to 6,000 metric tons of canes a day, increasing its total milling capacity to 14,000 tons of canes daily. This in turn expands URC’s total sugar milling capacity to 40,000 tons of canes a day.
URC operates six sugar mills and refineries across the country with a combined output of 32,000 bags of refined sugar a day.
This expansion project began in April 2017. Full commercial operations are set to start during the 2019-2020 crop year.
“The inauguration of the new mill marks the high point of our 30 years in the sugar business. It fulfills our commitment to serve sugar cane farmers with a mill that renders better sugar recovery from their canes and utilizes lower energy cost, so that the consumers will be provided with good-quality sugar at fair and reasonable prices,” Renato Cabati, vice president and business unit general manager of URC’s sugar and renewables group, said in a statement.
URC cited the growing volume of sugar canes that needed to be milled in Kabankalan and elsewhere in Negros Occidental.
Sonedco produces refined sugar used by URC’s branded consumer foods division for its Great Taste coffee, C2, biscuits, candies and other sweetened products. It also supplies bottler’s grade refined sugar to other beverage companies.
The new mill was designed and supplied by Sutech Engineering of Thailand. The latest technology in planetary gears and electric motors that drive the mill was supplied by Japan’s Sumitomo Drive Technologies.
Sonedco also has a biomass-fired cogeneration plant with a capacity of 46 megawatts exporting power to the national grid using bagasse, a byproduct of sugar milling, as fuel.
URC acquired Sonedco in 1988. It has over 500 employees.
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