Fiji's interim government has begun talks with two new overseas companies which are interested in operating the closed down Vatukoula gold mine.
This follows lack of progress in negotiations with the Australian company WESTECH in talks going back to March this year.
Last week the interim minister for mineral resources, Tevita Vuibau, invited expressions of interest form companies which may want to operate the mine.
Mr Vuibau has told the Fiji Sun newspaper that preliminary talks have begun with two new companies, one from Canada and another from England, which specialize in mining.
He says WESTECH would now be considered with other interested companies as it has lost its priority over the purchase of the mine because it continues to disagree with certain conditions laid down by the government.
But WESTECH director Brian Wessen says they are still in negotiation with the government.