The historic Haig coal mine site has been bought by the company that wants to bring the industry back to West Cumbria.

West Cumbria Mining has acquired the Haig Colliery site at Kells and will use the former museum visitor centre as its project office.

Construction of the mine, which will employ 500 people, is on track to begin early next year, with coal production expected to start two years later.

The closure of Haig Colliery Mining Museum in 2016 due to financial difficulties, rocked the community as it had been open less than a year.

West Cumbria Mining has been based in the building while pulling the scheme together.

By purchasing the site, the company is showing its commitment to the area ahead of developing the multi-million pound facility.

Two years ago more than 1,600 people expressed their interest in working at the mine.

At the time, bosses pledged to give at least 80 per cent of the 518 jobs to locals.

The museum collection has now been collated, photographed and stored to safeguard its future.

WCM will make it available to view by the public at company update events at least twice a year.

The dates for these will be advertised in advance on the website and social media.

John Kane, who represents Kells on Copeland Council, said: "I think it's a really good thing. They have always been committed to the area.

"I'm 100 per cent behind the mine. It's good sustainable employment with a good salary. We are crying out for it in the area.

"We need something that will bring long term prosperity in West Cumbria. It's fantastic news."

Mark Kirkbride, CEO of West Cumbria Mining, said: "We are delighted that we have been able to successfully conclude the purchase of the former Haig colliery site from the liquidator.

"This will ensure that the powerhouse, steam winders, headgear and museum collection have been safeguarded for future generations, preserving the extensive mining legacy of West Cumbria. "WCM will continue to use the former visitor centre as our offices and intend to transition the site to be the main base for employee training and development in the future."