HARARE, Dec 30– Zimbabwean sugar processor Star Africa Corporation says that the commissioning of its refurbished plant, which had initially been scheduled for November this year, will now take place in January next year.

Star Africa invested about 7.0 million US dollars on upgrading its sugar refining plant in Harare and its Chairman, Joe Mutizwa, said here Monday that the company was now in the final stages of refurbishing the refinery.

“The plant upgrade at Gold Star Sugars Harare (GSSH) is in the final stages of commissioning with quality sugar already being supplied to the market. Focus is on integration of new equipment with the old equipment so as to ensure that all the parameters contracted for with the supplier are met,” he said in a statement accompanying the group’s financial results for the six months ended Sept 30, 2014.

“Commissioning, which had been scheduled for completion in November 2014, is now anticipated to be completed by the end of January 2015 owing to problems experienced with the integration aforesaid.”

Mutizwa said final tests on the plant would be carried out over a 39-day period before project sign off. “After commissioning, the upgraded plant will increase production capacity from 300 tonnes per day to 600 tonnes per day. This will also result in improved sugar yield quality and operational efficiencies in addition to bringing the latest sugar refining technology and world standards at GSSH,” he said.

Star Africa requires between 1,500 tonnes and 2,000 tonnes of raw sugar per week to feed the market.
The sole sugar refinery in the country, Star Africa has been facing financial and operational challenges over the past couple of years because of its old and inefficient equipment.