The meeting was held on Monday in Gillette, Wyoming rather than at the company’s headquarters in St Louis – as is standard – to allow Peabody “to showcase its North Antelope Rochelle mine, the world’s largest and most productive coal mine”, the company said in a March statement.
However, a Peabody spokesperson confirmed with ILN that the move was also due to the threat of protests from the United Mine Workers Association.
Despite the move, a protest was still held and arrests were made.
“We are pleased to hold our annual shareholders meeting in Gillette and highlight our leadership in one of the great energy centers of the world,” the spokesperson said.
“And while we fully support free speech, annual meetings are intended for the benefit of shareholders and not to serve as venues for general protest activity.
“Today’s UMWA protest in Gillette represents the latest in a string of public actions by the United Mine Workers of America that are intended to distract attention from the proper forum for the Patriot Coal bankruptcy: the courts.”
Peabody used the change in venue to emphasize the company’s “leading position” in the Powder River Basin.
In 2012, Peabody shipped nearly 140 million tons of coal from the Powder River Basin to 90 plants in 24 states, as well as customers in Asia, Europe and South America.
The company also achieved the best safety results in its history last year and announced at the meeting that it was making similar ground in 2013, with first-quarter safety results at a 30% improvement when compared with the previous corresponding quarter.
“In addition to completing the safest year in Peabody history, we achieved record revenues, record US adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation and record Australia volumes," Boyce said.
"Our team continues to navigate changing markets, deliver safe low-cost operational performance and pursue cost containment initiatives and capital discipline.
"Our outlook for 2013 is positive.
"We expect US coal demand to grow by 60 to 80 million tons over 2012 levels.
“Chinese and Indian coal imports are rising, Chinese steel production is growing and new coal generation is being developed around the globe.
“We benefit from an outstanding thermal and metallurgical coal portfolio and our diversity of supply and depth of market intelligence allow us to manage well through all markets."
Boyce also highlighted the company’s focus on clean coal technology and the important role he believed it would play in the future of the fuel’s usage.
All 10 nominated members of the company’s board of directors were re-elected for a further year.
M Frances Keeth retired from her position on the board and the company thanked her at the meeting for her “distinguished service” which it said helped guide the company’s business decisions and led to increased revenues.