Chimney stack set to tumble

Millaquin Mill factory manager David Pickering counts down the days until the iconic stack is demolished.
Millaquin Mill factory manager David Pickering counts down the days until the iconic stack is demolished. Max Fleet

THERE will be a big empty space in the skyline of Bundaberg East from tomorrow, when the chimney stack at Millaquin Mill is removed.

Factory manager David Pickering said the 62m stack would be removed in sections, starting about 8am.

“It is the end of an era,” Mr Pickering said.

“There's always been this great big stack sticking up in the middle of the community.”

Mr Pickering said the old stack had provided many years of service, but wear and tear meant it had to be replaced.

While he was unsure how long this particular stack had been in place, Mr Pickering said the mill had been there since 1882 and there would always have been stacks since that time.

Mr Pickering said removing the old stack gave the company the chance to replace it with a new 35m version that would have less impact on the community.

The decision to put in a new stack was part of a $40 million upgrade of the Millaquin site.

He said much of the equipment already in place had proved beneficial to the environment.

A wet scrubber and air heater on the No. 2 boiler had reduced stack emissions to industry best practice, which had made them 14 times better in environmental performance than before.

He said fossil fuel use at the site was being reduced as the mill moved towards being a self-contained processor and power generator using renewable energy from sugar cane waste.

“By the end of next year we plan to be using a minimal amount of coal,” he said.

Mr Pickering said last year, the steam engines were replaced with electric mill drives that had contributed to increased reliability and better performance.

New equipment to be installed this year would give the mill the capacity to crush at up to 400 tonnes of cane an hour.

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