A licence subject has been offered by the UK Coal Authority for a partnership between Keir Minerals and Buccleuch to assess the commercial prospects of the property.

Keir Minerals operates the Greenburn coal mine in Ayrshire, reported scotsman.com.

Buccleuch Group CEO John Glen was quoted by the website as saying, "There are a number of potential energy resources at Canonbie and on other land managed by the group which could make a meaningful contribution to energy provision and needs."

Kier Minerals director Mark Harrington added that together, Kier and Buccleuch will approach this in a strategic and considered way.

"As part of this process, we will consult and engage with the local community and other interested parties and seek feedback and views as our proposals are developed," Harrington said.