The French Polynesian government has granted a licence to an Australian company to explore the viability of starting up mining on the atoll of Makatea in the Tuamotu archipelago.
The move reverses last year's decision by the previous government which rejected a bid by the Australian company, Avenir Makatea, to assess the atoll's resources.
The company said in its bid that it believed that there might be sufficient phosphate in the old mining areas to allow a feasible mining programme.
The atoll was heavily mined from the late 19th century until 1966.
Local media reports say work could start next month.
When the bid was rejected in May, Tahiti-Infos said the local population was against the resumption of mining amid inconsistencies between the outline of the project and the information given to the landowners.