The company had to place the mine under care and maintenance since July 2014 due to fall in coal prices.

Vale only owns 61.5% of Integra and the remaining stake is held by Asian manufacturers, steelmakers and power companies, including Japan’s Toyota Industries, JFE and South Korean company Posco.

The Integra colliery produced around 4.5 million tones of coal per year from its underground and open cut mine prior to winding up of operations.

According to reports, Vale was looking to sell Integra mine since 2012 and was aiming to get around $500m.

Media sources cited Bloomfield managing director John Richards as saying: "This is a logical and unique opportunity that would strengthen our ability to operate over the long term.

"The deal would breathe new life into the Integra open-cut site and will sustain local employment."