Abstract Impact and benefit agreements (IBAs) have become a common part of a standard package of agreements negotiated between an industrial proponent and a representative aboriginal organization. Among other things, IBAs recognize aboriginal peoples' interests with the land and parallel more broadly with the corporate social responsibility phenomena. IBAs seek to establish a bond based on consultation and support of both parties in a mineral development scenario. Challenges facing IBAs include their confidential nature and their relationship to conventional environmental assessment (EA). IBAs go beyond the regulatory and advisory EA processes and often find themselves in conflict due to overlapping objectives and blurred boundaries. IBAs can perpetuate injustices if benefits are not equally distributed to the community or if monitoring and follow-up on behalf of both parties are not continuous. To consider both challenges and opportunities, brief descriptions and comparison of IBAs and EAs are discussed and questions regarding the advantages of IBAs are considered.