Fonterra says projected demand for dairy is behind its plan for two high-efficiency milk powder driers at its Studholme site in South Canterbury.
Fonterra's global operations managing director, Robert Spurway, said the company was consulting with the community about its 10-year plan.
He said the two driers would be needed to make sure the company could meet its customers' needs.
"This is about making sure that we have the options that we need to maximise the value of our farmers' milk and also respond to milk volumes as they grow across the South Island and the South Canterbury region in particular."
He said construction alone could create several hundred jobs and 250 jobs would be created to meet the daily running of the plants.
Mr Spurway said the plans were in their early stages and Fonterra would be lodging its consent requests between February and March next year.