World Coal Association Elects New Chairman

25th May 2012

Johannesburg, 24 May 2012 – The World Coal Association, the leading global coal industry body, today announced the appointment of Dr Zhang Xiwu, Chairman of the Shenhua Group, as its new Chairman. Dr Zhang replaces outgoing Chair Fredrick D. Palmer, Senior Vice President of Peabody Energy USA with effect from 14 November 2012 after the WCA Board meeting in Brussels.

Dr Zhang Xiwu is Chairman of the Shenhua Group, the largest and most modernised coal company in China and the largest coal supplier in the world, ranked among the FT Global 500 Companies.

It is the first time in nearly 30 years that the WCA will be led by a Chinese coal producer.

Fred Palmer commented: “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, Chief Executive of the WCA, commented: “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: “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. More specifically, 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.”

On his appointment, Dr Zhang commented, “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. ”

WCA also elected a new Executive Committee at its Johannesburg AGM, comprising senior leaders 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 the WCA Chief Executive in an Ex-Officio capacity.

Mr Catelin continued: “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 full Executive Committee comprises:


  • Dr Zhang Xiwu (Shenhua)

Vice Chairs:

  • Norman Mbazima (Anglo American)
  • An Wang (China Coal)
  • Peter Freyberg (Xstrata)

Executive Committee:

  • Manie Dreyer (BHP Billiton)
  • John Disharoon (Caterpillar)
  • Steve Winberg (Consol)
  • Mike Sutherlin (Joy Global)
  • Fred Palmer (Peabody)
  • Doug Ritchie (Rio Tinto)
  • Don Elder (Solid Energy)
  • Milton Catelin (WCA - Ex-Officio)


Shenhua Group is an integrated energy enterprise combining coal, power generation, railway transport, shipping, coal liquefaction and chemicals, and runs a complete supply chain covering production, transportation and trade.

World Coal Association -