(EnergyAsia, December 4 2012, Tuesday) — Australia’s Celsius Coal Limited said it has appointed Alexander Molyneux, the former CEO of Mongolia-focused coal miner SouthGobi Resources, as executive chairman from December 1.

Celsius, which is focused on exploring and developing coking and thermal coal deposits in Kyrgyzstan, said it will benefit from the experience and the track record of Mr Molyneux as the company looks to commercialise its existing coking and thermal coal projects in the Central Asian country.

Mr Molyneux left SouthGobi in the wake of a failed attempt by Chinese state-owned Chalco to acquire a majority stake in the company this year following strong protests from the Mongolian government and business interests. A former non-executive director of Canada’s Ivanhoe Energy, he currently serves as chairman of the private group Azarga Resources Limited, which acquired the largest known uranium deposit in Kyrgyzstan.

Before joining SouthGobi, he was managing director of Citigroup’s Metals & Mining Investment Banking unit.

Celsius managing director Grant Thomas said of Mr Molyneux:

“Under his leadership, SouthGobi grew to become the largest foreign operator in Mongolia’s coal sector. He was also instrumental in SouthGobi completing a sovereign wealth fund financing and main board listings on the Toronto Stock Exchange and then subsequently Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

“Mr Molyneux’s experience and knowledge of Central Asia in general will allow him to contribute significantly to the future development of Celsius Coal.”

Celsius acquired a 90% interest in the Sary Mogol and Bel Alma coal licences located in Alai Range region of southern Kyrgyzstan in March 2012 and has recently acquired an 80% interest in the Tuyuk-Kargasha, Kokkia and Min Teke licences in the Uzgen Basin.