Commencing with a geological survey in 1903 to 1904 the Paparoa Coal Company began mining what is today the ROA mining area in 1907, continuing through to 1947 when the New Zealand State Coal Mines took over the operations.

When mining ceased in 1971 over 1.6 million tonnes of coal had been extracted from the two major coal seams (Morgan and Kimbell), with significant development, both for access and in coal, remaining as "old workings".

In 1980 interest in the ROA reserves was renewed, with just 6,100 tonnes being extracted from a small opencast to the West of the old underground workings.

Francis Mining Company Limited acquired ownership of the mining licenses in 1988 and extended the opencast workings, extracting a further 250,000 tonnes until the surface workings exhausted the reserves in 1995.  During this time the coal was sold as an ash trimmer, with high vitrinite and low sulphur in export shipments to coke producers.

In 1999 an access drive was commenced to intersect the old workings. This access drive was completed in January 2000.

In August 2001 the ROA Mining Company was formed with Coaltrac AG acquiring a partial shareholding.  In 2009 the shareholding was restructured to fall under New Zealand Coal and Carbon Limited.

Since August 2001 ROA Mining Company has been carrying out important expansion programs. This has included the opening of new access drives to the coal reserves and the construction of a primary wash plant and a workshop.  This work was completed on March 2004.  Underground and surface development and expansion continues to this day.