The leftover material is used to fuel the mill's furnaces. Having extracted the juice, impurities need to be removed. This is done by adding lime and heating. The clear juice is then concentrated by boiling under a vacuum into a syrup. The syrup is further concentrated and seeded with smaller crystals and spun through a centrifuge to separate the formed crystals and dark syrup.
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Once dried, these crystals are transferred to storage or transported to a refinery. The sugar at this stage is typically not food grade. The 'raw' sugar from the mill arrives at the refinery where it is mixed with hot syrup to soften the hard molasses coating on the outside of the sugar. The liquor undergoes further clarification via either carbonation or phosphatation and is then passed through activated carbon to remove organic or other residual material.
Next, excess water is removed via evaporation pans and passed through a UV light sterilizer. Finally, the liquid is crystallised, spun through a final centrifuge and dried. It is at the refinery that the many types of sugar products are made.
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Sign up now. Table sugar is produced from sugar cane in Australia and New Zealand The cane grows from tropical north Queensland down to northern New South Wales 'Raw sugar' from a mill is typically not edible. It must go through a level of refining to make it safe to consume.
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At the farm With adequate rain and sunshine a sugar cane crop typically takes between months to mature. Used in everything from coffee to curry, sugar is a key ingredient in many people's lives, but how much do you know about where it comes from? Sugar starts its journey in cane fields in Queensland and northern New South Wales, before being harvested, loaded onto cane trains, and taken to sugar mills, where it is processed into granulated sugar.
Each year he plants and harvests about hectares of sugar cane — a tropical grass that reaches up to 4 metres in height when it is ready to harvest. Once harvested by hand with the aid of a cane knife, sugar cane is now harvested with specialised machinery. Cane harvesters and haulers are driven independently, but work together to cut the cane from the ground, chop it up and load it into collection bins.
He said a good harvester and hauling team could cut more than 2, tonnes of cane per day, much more than an army of men carrying cane knives ever could. From the haulers, chopped sugar cane is transferred into cane train bins that wait on purpose-built railway lines criss-crossing the landscape.
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Pulled along the rails by high powered locomotives, fully laden cane trains can weigh more than tonnes. While they rarely travel faster than about 25 kilometres per hour, stopping a cane train can take some time. The final stop for cane trains is at a sugar mill, where sugar cane is processed into granulated sugar. Mackay Sugar's Mossman mill general manager Haydn Slattery said each cane bin was weighed when it arrived at the mill. To maximise the amount of juice that is collected, cane fibres are repeatedly passed through a series of squeezing rollers that extract every last bit of sugar.
Even at 70 per cent sugar content, the concentrated liquid still runs freely through testing taps on the side of the syrup tank.
The high sugar content of the syrup ensures that, if left to sit, it will begin to form crystals and turn into a dark brown, viscous sludge. This sludge is fed into high speed centrifuges that further separate the water from the crystals, which lighten in colour as they dry.
He said once the sugar was completely dry, it was sent via conveyor belt to silos outside the mill where it was collected by trucks that took it to ports and refineries around the country. Topics: sugar , regional , food-processing , work , cairns , mackay , townsville , bundaberg , rockhampton More stories from Queensland. If you have inside knowledge of a topic in the news, contact the ABC. ABC teams share the story behind the story and insights into the making of digital, TV and radio content. Read about our editorial guiding principles and the standards ABC journalists and content makers follow.
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These mums did, and it was no walk in the park. ABC Far North. Photo: Turning sugar cane into granulated sugar involves a range of processes.