Sugar Milling & Refining
The sector of the industry employs upwards of 7 000 people in 14 sugar mills and at the companies’ administration offices in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. Illovo Sugar Ltd and Tongaat Hulett Sugar Ltd own four mills each while RCL Foods Sugar & Milling (Pty) Ltd owns three mills. Gledhow Sugar Company (pty) Ltd, UCL Company Ltd and Umfolozi Sugar Mill (pty) Ltd own one mill each. Two of the mills owned by RCL Foods are located in the Mpumalanga province while the remainder of the mills are located in the KwaZulu-Natal province.
Four of the mills are known as “white end” mills and produce their own refined sugar. Part of the raw sugar produced by RCL Foods is refined at the Malelane “white end” mill, and the balance is exported via the sugar terminal in Maputo, Mozambique. The raw sugar produced at the remaining mills that is not used by the milling companies for exports of bagged refined sugar or direct consumption raw sugar, is routed to Durban. Here it is either refined at the central refinery of Tongaat Hulett Sugar Ltd or stored at the South African Sugar Association Sugar Terminal prior to export. Diversity is the key factor in today’s highly integrated sugar milling operations. Among others one of the mills produces a range of other products such as ethyl alcohol and furfural and its derivatives, although these activities are outside the industry partnership.