De Beers is moving ahead with environmental studies on expanding its diamond mine in Attawapiskat.

Company spokesman Tom Ormsby said this is still early days, but he said there have been preliminary discussions with the Cree community about what this project, called the "Tango" extension would mean.

"We're committed to staying the course here with the community and hopefully extending this mine."

Tom Ormsby

DeBeers spokesman Tom Ormsby says the proposed Tango expansion project is a long way from being a mine. (De Beers)

Ormsby said De Beers and Attawapiskat appear to have moved past tensions related to roadblocks of the existing Victor mine from last winter.

He says if the diamond mining company goes ahead with this new project, there could be a re-negotiating of the impact benefit agreement with the James Bay first nation.

"We're not there yet. We hope to make this go, but there's still some hurdles we need to accomplish to get various approvals and the final data to say 'Yes, this is going to be economic’,” Ormsby said.

If all goes well, he said, mining at the Tango site near Attawapiskat would begin in 2018.