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Mongolia’s Biggest Coal Miner Loses Executives in Cost Cutting

Former Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi LLC COO Graeme Hancock
Former Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi LLC Chief Operating Officer Graeme Hancock. Photographer: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg

Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi, the biggest state-owned coal company in Mongolia, said its two most senior foreign executives resigned as part of cost cuts at the cash strapped company.

Chief Financial Officer Angus Caithness and Chief Operating Officer Graeme Hancock have left, Erdenes TT spokeswoman Gurjav Enkhmanduul said today in an e-mailed statement. Caithness and Hancock are two of four deputy directors at the company, she said.

“To overcome the current financial problems the board of directors decided to decrease the company’s management expense by releasing the foreign deputy directors,” the company known as Erdenes TT said in a separate statement today. The posts will be vacant until the company’s financial situation recovers, Erdenes TT said. No details were given on any financial compensation to the executives.

The departures throw into question the timing of Erdenes TT’s initial public offering, which was expected to raise as much as $3 billion when first planned three years ago. They follow the company revealing this month that it stopped deliveries to Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd., its main buyer, because it couldn’t afford to truck coal to China.

Erdenes TT mines the East Tsankhi part of the 6 billion metric ton Tavan Tolgoi field, one of the largest coal deposits in Mongolia. The state company also owns the rights to the untapped West Tsankhi block, which Mongolia has considered leasing to foreign miners in return for royalties.

Hancock was the second-highest executive at Erdenes TT and his role included preparing the company to list in Hong Kong, London and on a domestic bourse, a person familiar with the situation said yesterday.

Caithness is a graduate of Harvard Business School and the Financial Services Institute of Australasia, according to his LinkedIn profile. He formerly served as the CFO of Hunnu Coal Ltd.

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