AROUND 260,000 tonnes of coal still remain in what is thought to be Lancashire’s last remaining mine.

Bosses at Grimebridge Colliery, on the moors in Rossendale, predict there is another 10 years' work at the Flower Scar Lane pit.

Thousands of miners were employed in the mining industry in East Lancashire during its heyday, including pits at Hapton, Bank Hall and nearby Deerplay.

And the current seam lies on the edge of the former Ratten Clough open-cast works.

But it is envisaged that only eight people would be required to extract existing coal supplies before the end of the decade.

Planning consultant Jim Metcalfe said in a report: “The general climate surrounding demand for coal suggests that increased activity could be feasible.

"A practical approach, as envisaged, could involve the mining of about 90 tonnes, maximum, of coal a day.”

Six lorries per day are expected to leave and enter the site, and another four smaller vehicles, say the developers.

The first planning permission for a colliery at the Hill Top site dates from 1949 and the permission was last renewed, for seven years, in 2005.

Mr Metcalfe said the mine and its workings are surrounded by low mounds and only visible from a small section of moorland.

Mining has not taken place on a consistent basis over the last 10 years and colliery bosses have paid a bond to restore the mineworks when the operation is completed in August 2021.

The Grimebridge application is set to be determined by the county council’s planning department.

The original colliery closed in 1964 but was reopened by business partners Billy Clayton and Rodney Mitchell.

Around 30 were employed there in the 1980s but eventually only Billy was left.