Three coal mines of the collapsed state firm Solid Energy are to be sold to a joint venture.
Bathurst Resources is joining Nelson-based food processor Talleys to buy the Stockton mine on the West Coast, and Rotowaro and Maramarua mines in the Waikato.
No price has been disclosed, but Bathurst will have a 65 percent stake, while Talleys is providing finance and will have 35 percent.
Solid Energy was placed into administration a year ago, closing mines and sacking hundreds of workers.
It was unable to pay back close to $400 million of debt because of a slump in world coal prices and demand.
Bathurst has a mine next to Stockton as well as mines in Southland and Canterbury.
Chief executive Richard Tacon said the new company would be stronger and will benefit from economies of scale.
"Our focus remains on being a responsible resource development company and we're confident that we can build a great business adding value to communities on the West Coast and the Waikato.
"We believe our strategy for the business will also contribute to the country through employment and maximising resource value."
Prime Minister John Key said the sale of most of the coal mines was welcome news.
He said it appeared creditors would get back more than the 15-cents in the dollar they intially expected.
"The reason why I think it's positive is it looks like these assets have been sold as a going concern, so if you take a place like Stockton on the West Coast, that would be a great relief."
Mr Key said the sale made no difference the Crown, as it had already written off its equity in Solid Energy.
Further details of the deal were to be provided over the coming days.