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Pike River announces new CEO

Tuesday 14th September 2010

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Pike River Coal has wasted no time in finding a replacement for long-serving chief executive Gordon Ward, announcing the promotion of mine manager Peter Whittall.

The appointment is effective on October 2. Ward led the company from its concept design phase 14 years ago and into its second export shipment this month. The mine has suffered setbacks with a damaged ventilation shaft and slower progress through difficult rock to reach the coal face. That's forced it to tap shareholders for extra funds to complete the mine.

Whittall joined Pike in 2005 at the West Coast mine site, moving to the Wellington head office this year, the company said in a statement. He had previously worked at BHP Billiton managing coal mines in New South Wales, Australia.

"He has a practical understanding of our business and as a seasoned executive is well-equipped to lead Pike River through the transition from mine development to steady-state mining operations," said chairman John Dow.

Shares of Pike rose 2.8% to $1.09 today.

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