A Far North iwi leader says a plan to map mineral resources in the district will rile Maori.
The Northland Regional and Far North District Councils on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Economic Development to conduct an aeromagnetic minerals survey of 1.25 million hectares.
Haami Piripi from Te Runanga O Te Rarawa says tangata whenua were left out because the Crown has taken the rights to the most valuable metals.
He told Waatea News it undermines work being done to settle Muriwhenua treaty claims.
This is very serious issue," he said. "We see conservation as not available for Treaty settlements, but it is available for mining and that really expresses the hypocrisy."
Far North Mayor Wayne Brown says he's surprised to hear Maori are upset.
He says Maori were consulted widely and iwi groups were keen on the idea.
Mr Brown also says more mining could boost the region's economy, helping to reverse the negative social impacts caused by the recession.
He told Nine to Noon the survey could reveal gold deposits near Kaeo and the location of water aquifers.
Mr Brown said valuable conservation areas will not be compromised if mining goes ahead.