SAO PAULO, BRAZIL — Bunge Brazil announced on April 3 the investment of R$500 million for construction of a new flour mill, located in Duque de Caxias, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The new venture will integrate the current mill and Fluminense Rio Distribution Centre, which will be transferred to a single location.

"Wheat is in the DNA of Bunge and is one of the strategic priorities of the company in Brazil and worldwide. Therefore, we are continuing to strengthen this business plan in the Brazilian market. We started this plan in 2013 with the acquisition of the mill Vera Cruz, in Minas Gerais. Besides consolidating our position as leaders, we will be well prepared to meet the growing demand for flour in the Southeast and reduce dependence on imports of flour to the region," said Philip Affonso Ferreira, vice-president of Food & Ingredients Bunge Brazil.

The construction of the new mill Fluminense is strategic, Bunge said. The states of Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and Espirito Santo, form one of the regions where the company is focusing its investments to modernize its operations, expand its production capacity and meet the needs of the growing market. With the construction of this new facility, which is expected to be inaugurated in 2016, Bunge will have three of the largest mills in Latin America, strategically located in Fluminense, Suape and Ponta Grossa.

"In reaching its full capacity, the new mill will grind over 600,000 tonnes of wheat per year, which represents an increase of over 50% on what is being processed in the current mill," said Ferreira. 

Much of this expansion is due to the use of the latest technology, still unpublished in the country. The new mill is being designed to be the most modern milling plant wheat throughout Latin America.

The design incorporates concepts of industrial automation in the processing of wheat, from receipt of raw materials, using modern technologies for sorting and processing of grains, up to monitoring and controlling the grinding and packaging equipment. Thus, the technique allows the system to improve levels of productivity, energy efficiency and food security, increasing the quality and competitiveness of the final product.

The company plans to transfer employees from current units (mill and distribution center) to the new venture, as well as enable them to operate processes in new technological standards. Bunge Brazil is negotiating with state and local authorities to work to improve the infrastructure of the region where the new mill will be located.