The deal, reached Wednesday night, is one of four on which Ottawa told BHP to make "significant progress" by Oct. 8 before the company can proceed with developing its diamond mine.
Negotiations on the deals with Treaty 8, Metis and Kugluktuk Inuit are continuing, and details of Wednesday's agreement can't be released until all are complete, said Ted Blondin, a Dogrib negotiator for Treaty 11.
"We're pretty happy with it," he said of the agreement.
Jim Excell, BHP's project manager agreed. "All parties are happy with the deal struck," he said.
In presentations to mining conferences over the years, Blondin said he has always talked about employment, training, business opportunities, long-term benefits and support for the communities.
"This reflects those presentations," he said.
Although the two sides have been talking about an agreement for two years, the 60-day deadline imposed by Indian Affairs and Northern Development Minister Ron Irwin helped move the talks along. That deadline expired Tuesday.
"For the past six months we've had detailed discussions," Blondin said. "The minister's condition of 60 days was a big factor."
The deal still has to be ratified by both parties.
While the negotiations may have posed a barrier to development in some peoples' minds, the board of directors at BHP's corporate head office has put its support behind the project.
On Sept. 20 the board officially approved their $750-million investment in the project.
The company hopes to begin mining by the second half of 1998.