(EnergyAsia, November 11 2011, Friday) — Reflecting the growing importance of the Asia Pacific markets, Peabody Energy said it is moving its global headquarters for its coal business from St Louis in Missouri state in the US to Brisbane in Australia.

The NYSE-listed company announced the relocation of the office of the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer headed by Eric Ford after raising its stake in Australia’s Macarthur Coal, a world leading producer of low-volatile PCI metallurgical coal to 77.6%.

Mr Ford, who has been named Macarthur Coal’s chairman, has nearly four decades of international management, operating and engineering experience, and most recently served as CEO of Anglo Coal Australia Pty Ltd.

He will be supported by Kemal Williamson, formerly Group Vice President of Operations who led Peabody’s US mining operations, as group executive for global projects. Mr Williamson has more than 25 years of experience in mining engineering and operations.

In Australia, the company is expanding three major projects to meet rising coal demand in the world’s fastest growing markets. It now operates six open-cut and three underground mines in eastern Australia, including Burton and North Goonyella in Queensland state.

The Macarthur acquisition will add to its global presence, providing access to a large resource base of quality metallurgical product and an extensive growth pipeline serving the world’s highest-growth coal markets.

With the inclusion of Macarthur, Peabody projects pro forma production of 45 million to 50 million tons by 2014 to 2015.

Gregory H. Boyce, Peabody Energy chairman and CEO, said:

“The strategic move of the office of our Chief Operating Officer recognises the large and growing contributions of the Australia platform to our business. Peabody’s Australian operations and our acquisition of Macarthur Coal provide us a sizable operating base and a significant pipeline of growth opportunities.”

As the world’s largest private-sector coal company and a global leader in clean coal solutions, Peabody reported sales of 246 million tons and nearly US$7 billion in revenues in 2010.