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Westmoreland accelerates leadership change

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World Coal,

US coal company, Westmoreland Coal, has accelerated its executive management transition after the diagnosis of its CEO, Keith Alessi, with esophageal cancer.

Alessi had planned to move to the role of CEO-Emeritus from the beginning of 2016 with Kevin Paprzycki taking up the CEO role then. Following Alessi’s diagnosis, the transition will now take place on 1 December with Alessi taking an immediate medical leave of absence to pursue treatment.

“I intend to fight and defeat this disease and expect to fully recover and return to my duties as CEO-Emeritus as soon as possible,” Alessi said in a company statement.

The promotions of John Schaden to President and Chief Operating Office and Jason Veenstra to Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer will also be brought forward to 1 December.

“Since 2007, I have had the privilege to work with Keith [Alessi] as he designed and executed the remarkable turnaround of Westmoreland,” said Dick Klingaman, Chairman of the Board. “As part of that effort, Keith identified, assembled and coached an executive team the is experienced, smart and energetic. I am confident that Kevin [Paprzycki], our CEO-designate, who has served with Keith since 2007, will provide effective leadership as we continue to reduce costs, improve efficiency and deliver the business.”

Westmoreland Coal owns sub-bituminous and lignite opencast coal mines in the western US and Canada, as well as an underground bituminous coal mine in Ohio. Through its ownership of the general partner and majority interest in Westmoreland Resource Partners – formerly Oxford Resource Partners – its also owns of the two-unit ROVA coal-fired power plant in North Carolina.

In 3Q15, the company reported revenues of US$349.8 million – up form US$337.8 million on the same period in 2014. It recently to buy the San Juan mine in New Mexico from BHP Billiton with completion of the deal expected by the end of the year.

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