Uranium mining giants Cameco and Avera have forged a $600m arrangement with English River First Nation in Saskatchewan, Canada to proceed with the operations over land near the proposed Millennium project.
Under the agreement, the mining companies will provide contracts to the aboriginal group, besides paying wages to the members working at the mines over next ten years.
In addition, the First Nation has agreed to withdraw the lawsuit it filed in 2008 against the Saskatchewan government for land claims citing 1992 Treaty Land Entitlement Framework, according to The Canadian Press.
Commenting on the agreement, Cameco vice-president Gary Merasty said that the deal provides the company with stability and predictability pertaining employment, business training and community investment and environmental stewardship.
"This is a little more certainty around project development. If there is a lawsuit hanging over, you know that introduces a level of risk to the project," added Merasty.
Meanwhile, English River vice-chief Marie Black noted that the arrangement would allow the Dene band to become independent, narrowing down its reliability on the federal Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
"It is very, very important that we go ahead and work with industry. This is for jobs," Black suggested.
The proposed Millennium underground mine currently seeking environmental approval is estimated to house about 50 million pounds of uranium.
Cameco acquired 28% stake in the project for $150m from Areva Resources Canada.