Plans to rebuild Les Moulins d'Haiti underway

by Josh Sosland
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI — Plans for a fast-track rebuilding and an expansion of milling capacity of the Les Moulins d’Haiti flour mill were announced today by Seaboard Corp. and Continental Grain Co.

The companies told Milling & Baking News that Buhler Inc., Plymouth, Minn., and T.E. Ibberson, Hopkins, Minn., have been engaged to rebuild the flour mill, which was destroyed in the Jan. 12 earthquake.

The companies seek to have the new mill in operation by the end of 2010.

“The expectation is that the mill will be based on state-of-the-art technology and include two 600-tonne wheat units and one 150-tonne maize unit,” the company said.

Before its destruction, the facility had the capacity to mill 1,050 tonnes of wheat daily.

Built originally in the 1950s by an American businessman, Les Moulins d’Haiti subsequently was acquired and nationalized by the Papa Doc Duvalier, the nation’s long-time dictator. Buhler upgraded the mill in 1978, adding pneumatic systems.

For several years, Maple Leaf of Canada operated the mill under a management contract, but the facility closed in 1991 because of a U.S embargo.

After sitting idle for six years, the mill was privatized in 1997 through a consortium of Seaboard, Continental, the Haitian government and Unifinance, a Haiti-based financial institution. The mill was refurbished, opening on Christmas Day in 1998. A second 300-tonne mill was added in 2003, with equipment supplied by Buhler.

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