A sand mine in a remote part of Scotland is reopening today in a move that will create 11 jobs.

The site at Lochaline, Lochaber, has lain dormant since the previous operator, Tarmac, closed it down in 2008.

Now Lochaline Quartz Sand, a joint venture between Italian mining company Gruppo Minerali Maffei (GMM) and glass manufacturer Pilkington, plans to export 100,000 tonnes of material each year.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise is providing grant funding of £155,000 which will go towards renewing and upgrading equipment at the mine.

Pilkington has agreed a 10-year supply contract to produce low-iron glass for use in the building industry and making solar panels.

It is understood the material will be shipped to Pilkington's site in Merseyside with around 40 annual deliveries expected.

Project manager and mining engineer Daniele Trogolo Got from GMM has been working in Lochaline regularly since the company took over the lease of the mine at the start of this year.

He said: "This is a good opportunity to work in this interesting mine. Due to its distinct geological setting it produces very nice sand.

"The mine and the plant are being refurbished and high investments for new equipment are taking place.

"This project proves that with business partners and workers from different countries it is possible, even in a time of European crisis, we can move forward."

Ian Philp, development manager with HIE, said: "We are delighted to have supported what is a significant inward investment for the area.

"The creation of the 11 new jobs and the increased turnover the business will have a very welcome impact on the local economy."

The Lochaline mine covers 370 acres, accessed by around 48 kilometres of tunnels, with its sand said to be among the highest quality available in the UK.

The mine was opened in 1940 due to the demand for optical glass for military instruments and gun sights.