Signal Peak representatives praised DeMichiei’s stewardship of the company. “We will always be grateful to John for his steadfast leadership of Signal Peak,” said Wayne M.  Boich, CEO of Boich Companies, which partly owns Signal Peak. “Without John’s expertise and dedication, the mine would not have achieved the success it has.”

Hanson has 36 years of mining experience and, since Q2 2010, has been the COO of Signal Peak. He has held most positions in the mining business, from operator and electrician to shift foreman, operations manager and mine manager, according to company representatives.

Indeed, Hanson’s “vast experience in the mining industry and his knowledge of Signal Peak make him the ideal person to become our leader,” Boich officials said in a further statement.

Signal Peak Energy is a partnership between an entity owned by Wayne Boich, Ohio-based utility company FirstEnergy Ventures and Pinesdale LLC, a 100%-owned affiliate of Gunvor Group Ltd., a leading global commodity trader.

Signal Peak Energy LLC operates Montana’s only underground coal mine, with 431 million tons of raw recoverable reserves. Last year, Signal Peak mined nearly 6 million clean tons of coal and anticipates growing to between 8 and 9 million tons in 2013; the miner currently employs more than 330 people.