New Zealand-based Solid Energy is developing the Reddale opencast mine near Reefton, to start coal supply to West Coast and upper South Island customers in early 2012.

Reddale mine, which is being developed in a valley northeast of the Reefton township, is expected to produce about 140,000 tons of coal over period of two to three years.

Doug Hood Mining has been named contractor for the mine and is expecting to start mobilisation, once the contract is finalised.

The development will include standard truck-and-shovel opencast mining operations.

Reddale mine site is part of the area which has been mined in the past and the older mine-affected areas will be progressively remediated over the life of the mine.

The firm expects to complete all the mining and remedial works within five years.