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Cargill plans to triple cane crush capacity at Brazil JV

20 Sep 2011, 3.24 pm GMT

Houston, 20 September (Argus) — US-based agricultural conglomerate Cargill said it plans to triple crushing capacity at its joint venture ethanol and sugar assets in Brazil owned with cane milling group Usina Sao Joao. Such a move would boost capacity to 15mn t/yr by 2020, the company said.

Cargill and Usina Sao Joao formed the 50-50 JV dubbed SJC Bioenergia in June 2010. It currently has a crush capacity of 5mn t/yr. The companies did not quantify what level of investment would be needed to triple capacity.

SJC holds milling operations in the center-western state of Goias, including the Sao Francisco mill – one of Brazil's most advanced, which began operated in 2007 in Quirinopolis. SJC has a project under development in Cachoeira Dourado.

By 2013, the JV expects to be processing 7.5mn t/yr of cane. In the following years additional capacity will be added to the milling cluster.

Current SJC output is 170mn l/yr of ethanol and 420,000 t/yr of sugar, plus 350MW of electricity from a biomass plant that runs on cane bagasse.

Cargill and Usina Sao Joao did not combine all Brazilian milling assets. Sao Joao still holds 100pc of its 3mn t/yr mill in Sao Paulo and Cargill still owns its Cevasa asset in Patrocinio Paulista, which is in the process of doubling its crushing capacity to 3mn t/yr and will be adding a sugar production unit to the ethanol component of the operations. Cargill, with its multinational distribution network, does most of the sugar sales for the group. Nearly all of the ethanol is sold to meet Brazil's domestic demand.

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