The New Caledonian government says it expects to know by the end of the year if the main overseas shareholder of the planned northern nickel project will committed to it.
Swiss-based Xstrata has asked the New Caledonian government for time to review plans to build the plant because of higher energy prices.
The project is aimed at developing the territory's mainly Kanak north in line with Noumea accord.
A New Caledonian government spokesperson says it expects feedback from Xstrata by the end of this year.
She adds the government is yet talking with other potential partners despite rumours the French company, Eramet, is willing to step in.