De Beers Canada hasreached an impact-benefits agreement with the North Slave Metis Alliance for the Snap Lake diamond project in the Northwest Territories.

The two groups said Tuesday that the deal formalizes the Metis involvement in Snap Lake through business contracts, training and employments opportunities, scholarships and financial benefits.

"Our vision is to ensure our businesses are creating opportunities for our people," said Bill Enge, president of the North Slave Metis Alliance.

"In negotiating this agreement, our focus was on supporting the development and growth of business opportunities, with a view to investing a significant portion of the profits earned by our businesses into scholarships, training and educational opportunities for our members," he said.

The agreement follows others completed with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation in November 2005 and the Tlicho government in March 2006.

Snap Lake is expected to go into production in October 2007.

De Beers said the mine isexpected to employ about 500 people at full production and produce about 1.5 million carats per year.

The mine will be the country's first completely underground diamond mine.