VANCOUVER, Nov. 12 /CNW/ - The Board of Directors of Western Coal Corp (TSX: WTN, WTN.WT and WTN.DB and AIM: WTN) are pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Keith Calder (48) as President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Western effective December 1, 2009. Mr. Calder will replace Mr. John Hogg (64), Western's current President, Chief Executive Officer and Director who will be retiring from the Company effective November 30, 2009. Mr. Hogg will also step down from the Board at that time. Mr. Hogg has agreed to stay on as a senior consultant to the Company to ensure an orderly transition of responsibilities.
Since 2007, Mr. Calder has been based in Vancouver, BC as Managing Director of Rio Tinto's Copper Projects where he managed a globally diverse team of over 400 professionals and 2000 staff and contractors. He had overall responsibility for the execution of a global portfolio of open-pit and underground base metals and diamond projects, with in excess of $20 billion in capital expenditure, as part of the strategic plan for the Copper and Diamond Group within Rio Tinto. Mr. Calder's career started after earning a Mining Engineering degree from Michigan Technical University after which he moved to a frontline supervisor and planning engineer with Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting and with Placer Dome at the Detour Lake startup. Mr. Calder then became Assistant Superintendent with Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines in Zambia. Following his return to Canada, he worked at Micon International on a variety of mining assignments. He then joined the Minera Group to become Operations Director for its mines in Bolivia and Argentina. Upon Rio Tinto's key stake in Minera, Mr. Calder progressed through Rio Tinto's ranks with a series of responsibilities as Operations Director in Portugal (Neves Corvo), Project Engineer in Spain (Las Cruces), Project Director in South Africa (Palabora), Managing Director in Australia (North Parkes) and then onto London, UK as the task force lead in a corporate program to Improving Performance in the critical area of Strategic Mine Planning before his move to Vancouver.
Mr. John Byrne continues, "On behalf of the Board, we are very pleased that someone of Keith's background in both open pit and underground mining is joining the Company. He has held senior positions in the mining industry culminating in his most recent position as Managing Director of Rio Tinto's Copper Projects. We expect Keith to drive the next stage of the Company's growth which aims on delivering over 10 million tonnes of coal per year."
Mr. Keith Calder states, "I am extremely pleased to be assuming the role of President and Chief Executive Officer of Western Coal Corp. The merger of Western and Cambrian created an impressive platform from which to grow the business. Western is very well positioned to benefit from what is now a truly international asset base and we are targeting significant growth over the next three years through:
- Improved performance at our existing operations and the realization
of important synergies following the merger of the two companies;
- Brownfield expansions that will take advantage of installed capacity
and existing transportation infrastructure;
- Using our financial strength to target value accretive acquisitions
of both existing operations and development projects either in the
geographic area of our existing business units or on a more
I look forward to working with the strong team that exists within the Company and to growing our capability to create the strong new mid tier coal producer that we believe the international market is seeking."
John Hogg's 45 year career in the coal mining industry includes the last six years with Western. Upon joining the Company in 2004 as Chief Operating Officer, one of John's major accomplishments was to build the greenfield Wolverine operation on budget and on-time. Upon his promotion to President and Chief Executive Officer in 2007, John led the development of the Company from a junior coal exploration company to a stable, international coal producing company with the capacity to produce 7 million tonnes of coal per year, and a three year growth plan to produce over 10 million tonnes per year.
Chairman of Western, Mr. John Byrne comments, "John leaves the Company in tremendous shape and well positioned for the future. His accomplishments at Wolverine were an outstanding effort at a time when costs throughout the industry were spiraling out of control. John's vision and leadership help shepherded the Company through volatile markets. Through out it all he has grown the Company's asset and production base while putting Western on a solid financial foundation with very little debt and outstanding growth prospects. On behalf of the Board and employees we wish John all the best as he spends more time with his family."
John Hogg comments, "I am proud of the many accomplishments of our employees and our achievements as a company. The Company is well positioned for the future. I am confident it will continue to grow and prosper."
Listed below are the names of the companies of which Keith Calder has been a director at any time in the past five years:
- COMCO, Bolivia
- North Limited, Australia
- Kennecott Eagle Mines, USA
- Resolution Copper Mining Company, USA
There are no other details to be disclosed under Schedule 2(g) of the AIM Rules.
Western is a producer of high quality metallurgical and thermal coal from mines located in northeast British Columbia (Canada) and West Virginia (USA). The mines have the capacity to produce 7 million tonnes per year and have over 20 years of coal reserves. Western also owns a 50.6% interest Energybuild (EBG: AIM) which produces high quality anthracite and thermal coal in South Wales (UK). Other interests owned include a 45% interest in Xtract Energy (XTR: AIM), 20% interest in NEMI Northern Energy & Mining (NNE.A: TSX). The Company is headquartered in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and trades on the AIM and TSX stock exchanges under the symbol "WTN". More information can be found at www.westerncoal.com
SOURCE WESTERN COAL CORP.
For further information: For further information: David Jan, Director, Investor Relations, (604) 608-2692, David.Jan@westerncoal.com