- Our business
- South Africa
Tongaat Hulett Sugar’s proud history in South Africa dates back to its beginnings in 1982. We operate three sugar mills in South Africa – Maidstone, Amatikulu and Felixton – with the capacity to crush over 4.8 million tons of sugarcane annually. Our central refinery in Durban produces high-quality refined sugar, with the primary product being the leading Huletts® brand. We also have an animal feeds operation, Voermol® Feeds, producing energy and supplementary feeds for the livestock farming community.
Our agricultural processes include the following :
- Cane Growing Process
- Field Layout
- Ratoon Cultivation
- Infield Transport
- Cane Loading
- Cane Haulage
Cane Growing and Harvesting
Here are some facts about our cane growing and harvesting process:
- Average rainfall is 1 000 – 1 300 mm per annum, received mainly between November and March.
- The area is spread on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast between Durban and Empangeni.
- Cane is harvested from April to December each year.
- The majority of the cane is burnt prior to harvesting, however some of this area is green cane harvested.
- Cutting is mainly done by hand and with limited mechanical loading and harvesting.
- Cane is transported to the mills by rail, tractor-trailer or heavy road vehicles.
- The sucrose % cane varies, but the average is 12.5 – 13%.
- 43% of sugar cane is sourced from black farmers and black-owned land.
- The supply of cane to the Tongaat Hulett mills is made up of 12% company farmed land, 32% small-to medium-scale growers and 49% large commercial growers.
- We are supplied by over 15 000 small-scale growers.
Tongaat Hulett has three sugar mills operating on the north coast of KZN, namely the Maidstone, Amatikulu and Felixton mills.
The Maidstone sugar mill in Tongaat was the first to be established in KZN in 1903. The mill was originally built on the banks of the Amanzimnyama river near Tongaat but was later relocated to its present site on the north bank of the uThongathi River. The mill can crush about 440 tons an hour through two parallel extraction plants.
The Amatikulu Sugar Mill was opened in 1907, crushing some 7 000 tons of cane in its first season. As cane supplies grew, 11 000 tons of sugar was produced in 1911, in line with its design capacity. The opening of the Amatikulu Sugar Mill, which proved to be highly successful, was followed by the establishment of the Felixton Sugar Mill on the Mhlatuze River, with a capacity of 35 tons of cane per hour compared with that of Amatikulu of some 30 tons of cane per hour. Today Amatikulu can crush about 385 tons of sugarcane per hour.
With the expansion of the sugar industry in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and the predicted increase in cane supplies to the turn of the century, it was decided to close the Felixton and Empangeni mills, which had equipment dating back some 70 years, and to replace them with a new mill at Felixton. This mill can crush 600 tons of sugarcane per hour through two identical extraction lines.
We manufacture a wide range of top-quality refined sugar and liquid sugar products to meet the demands of consumer and industrial markets, both locally and internationally. Our refinery is accredited according to the following standards:
- ISO 14001
- ISO 45001
- FSSC 22000
That first sweet sip of your morning coffee; the perfect cake for a special occasion; a delicious sugar-free treat at teatime. These are just some of the ways in which Huletts makes every day sweeter for millions of South Africans. Throughout the brand’s history, maintaining the values of quality, consistency, authenticity and kindness has been essential to successfully developing into new range extensions and product categories.
The strength of the Huletts® brand continues to grow after nearly 130 years, and while the exceptional quality of its products is certainly key, so too is the brand’s enduring relationship with consumers. The awards won over the years attest to this, including numerous recognitions in ‘best product’ and ‘favourite brand’ categories.
While health and wellness trends show no sign of declining, the occasional indulgence is once again gaining momentum, as consumers strive to create balance in their lives and celebrating special occasions becomes even more important. For those occasions, Huletts continues to offer sweetly squeezable syrups, and old favourites such as castor sugar and icing sugar in user-friendly, resealable packs. There’s no doubt, however, that at the heart of the range one will still find Huletts White Sugar and Sunsweet Brown Sugar, available in a variety of pack sizes.
As consumer needs change, so do the ways they interact with a brand. While traditional media such as radio and print advertising are still a part of our marketing strategy, the brand team is actively involved on social media and is constantly seeking out new engagement opportunities.
For more information, please visit www.hulettssugar.co.za
Bulk Sweeteners and Sweetener Blends
At Tongaat Hulett our state-of-the-art blending facility provides customers with customised sweetener blend solutions to partially or fully replace sugar. We also supply intense sweeteners, bulking agents and sugar alcohols for a complete sweetening solution used in a variety of food manufacturing industries. Our people are our strength. Through their collective skills and expertise, we can offer our clients a flexible service, meeting unique and special demands wherever possible.
Voermol’s history of innovation began in 1958 with a vision that animal feeds could be manufactured from molasses and bagasse, both by-products of the Maidstone Sugar mill. In January 1962, the first bags of Voermol® Meal came off the production line and Voermol® became the first company in Africa (and possibly the world), to successfully commercialise this product.
Voermol manufactures a wide range of veld supplements for grazing animals including Maintenance Licks, Mineral Licks, Transitional Licks, Production Licks and Energy Licks.
We also manufacture quality concentrates to be used in home mixing including fattening feeds, dairy meals, feed for stud animals and more.
In addition, our range of liquid feeds can be used for the enrichment and enhancement of grains, liquid protein licks, the enrichment of low-quality roughage, the preservation of grass silage, the preservation of drought maize silage, the prevention of wastage of unpalatable low-grade roughage, and for cattle and sheep feedlots.
The entire Voermol operation maintained its QMS ISO 9001:2008 accreditation after an audit by the NQA Certification Body in March 2021. The Voermol Laboratory was certified in 2009 and following this, various other departments were also certified annually, until 2014 when the entire Voermol operation received certification. Since then, the Voermol operation has maintained certification.
For more information, please visit www.voermol.co.za
We provide equipment, design and consulting services to the Tongaat Hulett mills and refineries across Southern Africa, and we also provide consulting services to external customers, both locally and internationally.
These activities include:
Operations support: our engineers, chemists and sugar technologists have experience in all aspects of cane sugar processing and engineering. We’re constantly assessing our performance at our various operating centres, ensuring that it ranks among the most efficient in the world.
Technology development: we develop new processes, equipment and operating techniques to improve the profitability of our sugar mill and refinery operations.
General sugar mill equipment designs: we offer equipment designs and manufacturing drawings for a range of sugar processing equipment.
New product development: we’re continually evaluating business opportunities, aiming to extend the value chain of our land management, farming and agri-processing capabilities.
Technical audits and feasibility studies: our technological team performs investigations and feasibility studies for cane sugar mills and refineries including factory upgrading and energy use optimisation, among others.
Equipment commissioning and training services: we supply experienced engineers and sugar technologists to commission new equipment purchased from Tongaat Hulett or through one of our licencees. Hands-on training in one of our factories can also be arranged when equipment is purchased.