North Queensland Bio-Energy Corporation Limited’s (NQBE) $550 million sugar-based renewable power project at Ingham remains on track to commence operations in 2018, company chairman Robert Carey told shareholders at a meeting on Friday.

During a project update presented to more than 100 shareholders, Mr Carey said delays in completing the Front End Engineering Design (FEED) for the Facility had forced the NQBE Board to push back the target date for financial closure for the project to early December.

“We had set an aggressive target date of 30 September 2015 to have both the debt and equity in finalised, however, there have been some frustrating delays in getting the FEED completed. We need the FEED to be completed to confirm the project’s capital cost for financiers, so we are now looking at late November or early December 2015,” Mr Carey said.

“Notwithstanding the FEED delays, this will still enable NQBE to go to tender early next year and start construction immediately after the wet season, so we’re still on track to be operational in time for the 2018 crushing season.”

Mr Carey said shareholders remained positive and fully supportive of the project and were determined to see it through to completion.

“We asked the shareholders to indicate their continued support with a show of hands and the result was overwhelming,” he said.

“Naturally, everyone is frustrated with the delays, but these delays are not unusual for a project of this magnitude.

“The NQBE board is confident that it can meet the new deadline and will be working hard to ensure that there are no further delays.”