The Goro Nickel company in New Caledonia says it will wait for another two months to see if an agreement to complete its project can be reached.
The Goro statement comes amid rumours in Noumea that the company could halt the 3.2 billion US dollar project; the world's biggest metal mine construction site.
Its director, Phil du Toit, says dozens of millions of US dollars have
been lost since February when objections to its effluent pipeline stopped work.
Environmentalists and locals say allowing the discharge from the planned nickel plant into the sea is incompatible with the bid to include New Caledonia's reef and lagoon on the Unesco list of world heritage sites.
Mr du Toit says plans are still afoot to start production this year.
Goro is owned by Vale of Brazil which recently considered
buying rival miner Xstrata for 90 billion US dollars.