Leadership change coming for Signal Peak coal mine

2013-11-20T10:55:00Z 2013-11-20T20:35:07Z Leadership change coming for Signal Peak coal mineBy JAN FALSTAD jfalstad@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

On Jan. 1, the Signal Peak Energy coal mine near Roundup will have a new chief executive.

Brad Hanson, who has worked as chief operating officer since August 2010, will become the chief executive at Montana’s only underground coal mine next year.

He will replace the current CEO, John DeMichiei, who is retiring after four decades in the mining business. Hanson has 36 years of mining experience.

“Without John’s expertise and dedication the mine would not have achieved the success it has,” said Wayne Boich, chairman and chief executive of the Boich Companies of Ohio, which purchased Signal Peak with other partners in 2008.

Boich Companies; FirstEnergy Ventures, an Ohio-based utility; and Pinesdale LLC., a wholly-owned affiliate of Gunvor Group Ltd.; bought the Montana coal mine. Gunvor is a world commodity trader based in Switzerland.

The Roundup mine, which employs more than 330 people, produced nearly six million tons of coal in 2012 and expects to mine between eight and nine million tons this year.

Last year, the Montana Land Board approved a 10-year lease on nearly 12 million tons of coal, so Signal Peak can expand in its mine that runs under Musselshell and Yellowstone County land.

In May, the Yellowstone County Commissioners gave the company property tax breaks on nearly $77 million worth of equipment, chiefly the longwall mining system used to extract coal.

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