The sweetest job

18-12-2018

A Crusher bucket built for mini excavators put to use in the redevelopment of a historic sugar refinery

La Réunion is a volcanic island in the Mascarene islands, in the Indian Ocean. And it is in this French overseas department that we encountered our "Sweetest Job”.

Located in the heart of the La Saline in Belle Vue, there is a historic sugar plant.

A few months ago, the council began the reclamation of this brownfield, a factory that once represented the economic heart of the island, to transform it into a cultural and economical location for the service of the community.

To this day, in Réunion, home of the nearly-forgotten traditional Galabe’, the sugar industry covers a particularly important part of the island's economy. It generates more than 18,300 direct, and indirect jobs in the fields of agriculture, industry, transport, energy and research fields. The sugar production by-products also play key roles. Aside from the raw material and sugar, they produce:

- rum, from molasses and cane juice
- electricity from the bagasse, which is the key to La Reunion Island's energy self-sufficiency
- fertilizer from the foam
- fodder for livestock

It can be said the sugar cane is a zero-waste product as every part gets used. The same philosophy applies to all our MB units, designed to promote the use of waste, transforming into a usable resource.

The sugar factory in Belle Vue was built before 1874, went through several extensions, then closed in 1969 as it could no longer handle the demand of production. Neglected, the building was overgrown with vegetation and waste. The Reunionese are used to finding ways to maximize all available resources.

This is exactly what was witnessed here, as they performed the cleaning and safety work of the former sugar factory in La Saline. Operations necessary to allow this building to receive a new life.
An MB-C50 crusher bucket mounted on a Kobelco was used to reduce all inert material brought out from the plant, as the main goal was to access the interior to have a better perspective of future development

Nothing was wasted during the work that gave a second life to the historic sugar mill, which was part of the development project of the city of La Saline: the crusher bucket busy reducing bricks, reinforced concrete, cement to a size that gave the aggregate reusable property. This former sugar factory, once the economic lung of this neighborhood, has been given a second wind. This 40 thousand square foot building is part of the development project of the town of La Saline. The reclaiming job has been carried out directly at the residential site, next to public schools and the city swimming pool, without obstructing the cities’ activities. This because all MB units are certificated and designed to reduce noise and dust while reducing emissions and promoting environmental preservation.

Reminiscing on old times is heartwarming, reclaiming iconic buildings is fulfilling. So, more city councils should focus on brownfield developments and provide wealth to their community. We have proof that it can be a piece of cake!  

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