While the deal is not set in stone, the tribe announced in December that it signed a memorandum with BHP Billiton, the current owner, regarding the possible purchase of the mine from the Australia-based mining company.
It since has taken on a more cautious tone.
The tribe paid several firms $750,000 altogether to compile a report that would provide answers to some of the tribe's questions regarding the mine.
The Navajo Mine, located west of Farmington, is the sole provider of coal to the Four Corners Power Plant west of Farmington.
The mine provides more than 400 jobs to a work force that is more than 85 percent Navajo.
"We want to keep it open as long as we can so we can have our people there," said Erny Zah, spokesman for the Office of the President and Vice President of the Navajo Nation.
Whether the purchase will be profitable for the tribe, though, remains in question.
The tribe has a wide range of questions that have yet to be answered, and officials are proposing another study, one that would be more "in-depth" and would cost $2.3 million.
While some officials feel that it is a necessary investment, others are skeptical and curious as to why the more in-depth questions were not answered in the initial report.
"We need to have a very clear scope of work. We didn't put enough thought into how that first
The first report covered the basics, but did not reveal the mine conditions, neither the structure nor the machinery. It also did not reveal how much was left of the coal reserve, or its quality — all questions that need to be answered, officials said.
Those answers will help determine how much profit the tribe can make from the mine, and how much they will have to spend on it.
"The report said it would be in the tribe's best interest," Begaye said. "I haven't even seen (the report)."
The report has not been publicly released, nor has it been released to council delegates, who eventually will vote on legislation to approve or turn down the purchase. Officials are aiming to decide by July 1.
The tribe currently has a task force put together by Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly that is dealing with BHP Billiton, negotiating and discussing the deal.
"It's still a big if.' We still can say no' if we don't want the mine," Zah said.
Jenny Kane can be reached at email@example.com; 505-564-4636. Follow her on Twitter @Jenny_Kane.