DAMAGE caused by the fire at the Bingera sugar mill six weeks ago will cost up to $3million to fix.
Yesterday was the first time outsiders had been allowed in to see the damage.
Bundaberg Sugar general manager operations David Pickering said the fire meant management had to come up with a plan to refurbish and repair the mill in time for it to take part in the crush.
Equipment ordered for the repair process was starting to arrive.
The company had been only partly insured for the damage.
He said the company was pleased with the prompt response by local contractors, and some from out of town, to the damage.
Mr Pickering said the start of crushing by Bingera had been delayed from July 7 to July 21.
"It won't have a major impact on this season because it's a short season," he said.
"It's mostly work we had planned to do over the next four years."
Mr Pickering said the fire had apparently started in a switch room and then spread to a transformer and four conveyors.
After the fire was discovered early on the morning of May 14, Bingera workers were sent to the Millaquin mill for the day.
But by the end of the day they were back at Bingera.
Mr Pickering said the equipment destroyed in the fire would be replaced by more modern, up-to-date equipment.
"This new equipment will be better than what was here," he said.
"We are already in the middle of a capital upgrade for this mill."
Mr Pickering said Bundaberg Sugar was expecting to crush a total of about 1.45million tonnes of cane this season at its two mills.
The company hoped to expand that to two million tonnes within five years.
"This year, if it had been a reasonable year, it would have been 1.7 or 1.8million tonnes," he said.