(EnergyAsia, June 20 2012, Wednesday) — The World Coal Association, the leading global coal industry body recently appointed Zhang Xiwu, chairman of China’s coal mining giant Shenhua Group, as its new chairman from November 2012.
Dr Zhang, who will replace Fredrick D. Palmer of US coal producer and trade Peabody Energy, will be the first Chinese national to head the association since its founding in 1985. Shenhua Group is both China’s largest coal company and the world’s largest coal supplier.
The association also elected a new executive committee at its recent annual general meeting in Johannesburg in South Africa.
The new team comprises senior executives from Anglo American, BHP Billiton, Caterpillar Global Mining, China Coal, Consol Energy, Joy Global, Peabody Energy, Rio Tinto, Solid Energy and Xstrata as well as Milton Catelin, the association’s chief executive.
Dr Zhang said: “The World Coal Association is the global body representing the world’s leading coal producers. It is a great honour to be asked to chair the WCA at one of the most exciting times in the history of the industry and also of the organisation.
“My wish is to serve my international colleagues in the sector, to broaden the understanding of coal’s strategic role in economic and social development, and to contribute constructively to accelerating environmental and other improvements in the industry. ”
Mr Palmer said: “This is a transformational day for the WCA. Under Dr Zhang’s leadership, the WCA will establish an industry research body in Beijing and develop a new global magazine aimed at providing a platform for the global coal industry. I have no doubt that under Dr Zhang’s leadership, the WCA will continue to serve as the global voice for coal.
“It has been an honour to chair the WCA for the past two years. During this time the coal industry has become stronger and more united, with the WCA engaging in major energy policy debates and advancing the case for coal in sustainable development and combating energy poverty.
“Under the leadership of Dr Zhang and the newly elected executive committee, I believe the WCA has a strong team for the future that reflects the diversity of the global coal industry.”
Milton Catelin, WCA’s chief executive, said:
“Dr Zhang’s election as Chair is highly significant, and comes at an exciting time for WCA. His appointment reflects the growing importance of Asia and China to the coal industry, both in terms of production and consumption.”
Mr Catelin also paid tribute to the outgoing chairman:
“Fred Palmer has demonstrated great leadership and vision during his two years as chairman of WCA, guiding the WCA work programme and interacting with global issues facing the coal industry.
“Fred has been instrumental in engaging with the coal industry in China to strengthen WCA’s international reach and China’s commitment to coal on the global stage.
“Our new leadership team brings the right mix of vision and experience to guide WCA’s new strategic direction and its growth via the WCA Strategic Research Institute.”
The new executive committee includes Norman Mbazima (Anglo American), An Wang (China Coal) and Peter Freyberg (Xstrata) as vice-chairpersons, and regular members Manie Dreyer (BHP Billiton), John Disharoon (Caterpillar), Steve Winberg (Consol), Mike Sutherlin (Joy Global), Fred Palmer (Peabody), Doug Ritchie (Rio Tinto), and Don Elder (Solid Energy).