The company wanting to dismantle a fleet of former US navy ships, says it hopes to begin work in January 2005.
Four of the vessels are currently moored in Hartlepool
Hartlepool-based Able UK wants to recycle 13 so-called ghost ships, but has faced an outcry from green groups.
The company says hundreds of jobs depend on permission being given for the work to go ahead.
Now the firm says a vital environmental impact assessment (EIA) is almost complete and hopes council bosses will finally allow the work to go ahead.
Four of the vessels are already docked in Hartlepool, awaiting permission for work to proceed.
The ships are up to 60 years old and are said to contain a range of toxic materials, including lead, mercury, asbestos and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
Hartlepool Borough Council has refused planning permission for a new dry dock where the dismantling work is to take place.
Able UK says the EIA will be completed in early September and submitted to Hartlepool Borough Council soon afterwards.
It will also submit the assessment to the Environment Agency, which will have to issue a waste management licence before the work can begin.
A spokesman for Able UK said a new planning application had been drawn up.
He said: "The document has been prepared and will be submitted with the EIA at the end of September 2004.
"The local planning authority then has 16 weeks to consider the application.
"We are hopeful they will be in a position to consider and hopefully give planning approval in December 2004."
He said the company was working on the basis of being able to start work on the sips in January 2005.
Environmentalists want the ships to be returned to the United States.