The company prospecting for ironsand off the south Taranaki - Whanganui coast says it expects a high amount of interest from Maori miners now working in Australia, if the resource is exploited.
Trans Tasman Resources chairman Bill Bissett told Waatea News an offshore mining operation employing 150 people directly and 500 indirectly could be up and running within four years.
The 5 - 10 million tonnes of ironsand produced a year could either be exported or provide raw material for a New Zealand steel mill.
Mr Bisset says the ironsand mining will attract some of New Zealanders now working at the company's operations in Western Australia.
A large number of them are Maori, he says, and many are sending money home and wanting to come home.
"We've had a lot of unsolicited inquiries as to what sort of potential might exist," he says.
Mr Bissett says meetings with iwi groups in the region have received a positive response.