Opponents of the Goro Nickel project in New Caledonia's south now say they are prepared to negotiate an agreement with the company leaders by mid-July.
The leader of the Kanak Rheebu Nuu group, which has been opposed to the 3.2 billion dollar plant being built, says so far there has been no accord.
Its leader, Raphael Mapou, says he is now ready to a deal which takes into account the plant's impact.
Environmentalists and Rheebu Nuu forced a suspension of work on an effluent pipeline in February, with Goro Nickel saying it would decide within two months on how to proceed.
The pipeline is to discharge effluent into the lagoon which is being considered by Unesco to be inscribed on the list of world heritage sites.