GRAND JUNCTION, Colo., July 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Bituminous coal producer Wolverine Fuels, which is majority-owned by the Galena Private Equity Resources Fund (“Galena”), has announced the appointment of James Grech as Chief Executive Officer and Marc Maglione as Chief Financial Officer, alongside the promotion of Corey Heaps to Vice President of Operations and Garrett Atwood to Vice President of Marketing, Logistics and Business Development. This coincides with new financing provided to Wolverine Fuels by Galena and Galena’s parent company, international commodity trading firm Trafigura.
In late June, 2018, Galena injected an additional $13.4 million of equity in Wolverine Fuels to further improve the productivity of Wolverine Fuels mines, bringing Galena’s total investment in Wolverine Fuels since August, 2013 to approximately $193 million. In addition, Wolverine Fuels, with the assistance of Trafigura, is in the process of refinancing and upsizing its asset-based revolving credit facility, which will provide Wolverine Fuels with $20 million of additional liquidity. The refinancing is expected to close in the first week of August, 2018, with the net proceeds therefrom being used for working capital purposes.
Wolverine Fuels new Chief Executive Officer, James Grech, most recently served as President of Nexus Gas Transmission and previously held the position of Chief Commercial Officer and Executive Vice President of Consol Energy. James brings a strong operational, commercial and financial background in both mining and other energy business operations, and also has extensive utilities and capital markets experience.
Wolverine Fuels new Chief Financial Officer, Marc Maglione, will join Wolverine Fuels in mid-September 2018 from Rio Tinto where he has most recently served as the Chief Financial Officer of Richards Bay Minerals in South Africa. Marc brings international operating and commercial leadership experience in addition to financial discipline demonstrated across diverse mining operations and projects, including coal with Rio Tinto and smaller public companies in the US and abroad.
Corey Heaps is appointed as Wolverine Fuels Vice President of Operations, having served as General Manager of Wolverine Fuels Skyline Mine since June, 2015. Corey has over 20 years of underground mining experience. Prior to joining Wolverine Fuels in June, 2015, Corey served as Vice President and General Manager of Rhino Energy’s Western Operations, and also held various supervisory and engineering roles in other underground coal mining operations. Corey will continue to serve as acting General Manager of Wolverine Fuels Skyline Mine until his replacement is named.
Garrett Atwood is appointed as Wolverine Fuels Vice President of Marketing, Logistics and Business Development. Garrett is a third generation miner with roots in the Uinta Basin and has worked in the natural resources industry for nearly 15 years, including experience in coal, natural gas, copper, gold, silver and molybdenum operations. Prior to joining Wolverine Fuels in July, 2014, Garrett worked for Rio Tinto in Salt Lake City and Consol Energy in Pittsburgh in maintenance planning, procurement, strategy, operations management and business development roles.
“Our priorities will be on strengthening our relationship with our customers, focused financial management and day-to-day operations, including continuing the company’s strong safety and environmental compliance record,” said James Grech. “With our skilled and dedicated workforce, we’re looking forward to the challenge of helping Wolverine Fuels live up to its potential, while continuing to serve as a pillar of the local Utah economy and creating lasting value for our customers, business partners and shareholders.”
“Galena remains fully supportive of Wolverine Fuels for the long term,” said Jesus Fernandez, Wolverine Fuels Board Member and Principal for Galena. “Wolverine Fuels continues to be the largest Western bituminous coal producer in the US, producing high-quality, clean-burning coal that is sold to our key domestic power generators in Utah, domestic industrial customers and the growing economies of the Pacific Rim.”
Carlos Pons, current Co-Chief Executive Officer, will step down from his executive role and continue as a member of the Board of Directors of Wolverine Fuels, while Gene DiClaudio (Co-Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer), Jim Wolff (Chief Financial Officer) and Jennifer Hood (Vice President of Marketing and Logistics) will all leave the company. “We are very grateful for the hard work and dedication that Gene, Jim and Jennifer have given to Wolverine Fuels over the years, and we wish them well in the future endeavors,” said Jesus Fernandez.
About Wolverine Fuels
Wolverine Fuels is a highly competitive coal company serving the Western US power generation industry and export markets. Based in Grand Junction, Colorado, the company employs over 950 staff and has an annual productive capacity of approximately 12-14 million tons of thermal coal.
Galena Asset Management S.A. is the wholly-owned investment arm of the Trafigura Group, a world leading commodity trading firm, and is authorized and regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). For more than a decade Galena has operated at the intersection of financial and physical commodity markets, enabling leading institutional investors to access investment opportunities alongside the Trafigura Group through funds or managed accounts. Galena’s portfolio management specialists have built considerable experience in metals, minerals, oil, shipping and infrastructure. Galena acts independently, but derives significant benefits from its relationship with Trafigura, its principal anchor investor.
The Galena Private Equity Resources Fund LP is a US$400 million closed end Cayman Islands limited partnership designed to invest in the junior mining sector. The investors are leading global institutional investors, including a US university endowment and one of the biggest European insurance companies and a number of family offices. Trafigura is also a pari-passu limited partner in the fund. As of February 2017 the fund had three investments in its portfolio including in Bowie Resource Partners LLC. The fund is also a majority investor in Mawson West, a copper and silver-focused resource company operating in the Katanga Basin in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Finland-based zinc and nickel mine Terrafame Ltd. The Galena Private Equity Resources Fund has invested in Bowie since August 2013, in Mawson West since December 2014 and in Terrafame Ltd since February 2017.
Galena has unparalleled access to the commercial and technical expertise of the Trafigura Group in the non-ferrous and ferrous space. The investment professionals have the ability to leverage Trafigura’s global presence with 61 offices in 36 countries and rely on the Group’s solid reputation. The fund invests globally and usually intervenes actively in the strategic direction of companies invested in. Trafigura is a limited partner in the fund.
SOURCE Wolverine Fuels