THE company vying to control Scotland's coal-mining industry has contributed just £1 million to the Scottish Government initiative for cleaning up disused sites – stoking fears taxpayers will be saddled with a bill of up to £100m.

In a written answer to a parliamentary question by the Green Party, Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing confirmed Durham-based Hargreaves Services had paid £1.1m to the Scottish Mines Restoration Trust (SMRT).

While sources insisted this was not a one-off payment, it is a long way short of the likely £70m-£100m cost of restoring the former mines in Ayrshire, Lanarkshire and Fife left by the recent collapses of mining companies ATH Resources and Scottish Coal.

Hargreaves bought various ATH assets for £10.4m last month and is the preferred bidder to buy the most commercially viable parts of Scottish Coal in the coming weeks, which would give it control of most of the Scottish industry.

Planning rules require mining companies to provide for the cost of restoring old mines through insurance bonds, but liquidator KPMG has confirmed that the bonds are far short of the overall bill. Its petition to the Court of Session for permission to abandon the mines is being challenged by several affected councils and government agencies. The case is due to be heard next month.

Patrick Harvie, co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party, said: "My concern is that this whole process is going to result in a massive taxpayer bill from the environmental damage. The Government has got to make sure that the industry pays for it.."

A source close to the restoration discussions said that Hargreaves' contribution was a sign of good faith.

Hargreaves refused to comment.