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Schweitzer Elected Chairman Of Stillwater Board

In the interview, Schweitzer also weighed in on national politics by mocking the Department of Justice's secret seizure of two months of reporters' phone records by jokingly calling the AP a "terrorist organization," and earnestly lauding an idea to give student loans at the same low interest rates the government gives big banks.

"I am able to keep more than one ball in the air. When I was governor I was pretty good at also running my ranches," Schweitzer said. "If I decided to run for something, depending on what I run for, I wouldn't be sworn into until January 2015 or even later if I run for something else.

"I am not going to put my life on hold until then."

Schweitzer said political decisions will be made later as he focuses on the mining business in the short term.

"Certainly over the next month or more I will be focused like a laser and learning everything I can about corporate governance at the Stillwater mine, working with management, working to increase production on a daily and weekly basis, increasing efficiencies," Schweitzer said.

The company's stock price rose more than 5 percent Monday on news of the leadership changes, to close at $13 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Securities filings with federal regulators show Schweitzer has bought 33,000 shares of Stillwater common stock, worth about $430,000 based on its Monday price on the New York Stock Exchange. He started buying the stock soon after leaving office in January.

Stillwater has a market value of $1.5 billion and employs more than 1,600 workers at its two mines in the Beartooth Mountains and a smelter and metals recycling plant in Columbus.

Many of those workers are represented by the United Steelworkers union, which sided with McAllister during the takeover struggle. Steelworkers representative Steve Gentry said Monday that the union's dispute with Schweitzer was over. Gentry welcomed Schweitzer's election as chairman, and said that even if the former governor leaves in coming months to run for Senate he'll first have a chance to make his mark at Stillwater.

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