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Powder River coal producer changes namePosted on May 2

Powder River coal producer changes namePosted on May 2

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GILLETTE, Wyo. - Kennecott Energy Co., the second largest coal producer in the Powder River Basin, will change its name to Rio Tinto Energy America.

Company officials notified employees of the change on Monday. The company operates four Powder River Basin coal mines - Antelope, Cordero Rojo, Jacobs Ranch and Spring Creek - employing more than 1,400 people. It also operates the Colowyo mine in Colorado, and is part of a joint venture in the Decker mine in Montana.

The change came about because the company wanted to match the name of its English parent company. Rio Tinto Group, a London-based mining company, founded Kennecott Energy in 1993.

"We're basically wanting to recognize that we're part of the integral strength and reputation for excellence of the Rio Tinto organization," said spokesman Bob Green.

CEO Bret Clayton said in a statement that the closer association with Rio Tinto is expected to make the company more recognizable and could result in higher stock prices. He said that there wouldn't be any changes in operations.

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