Tenders are being sought for permits to explore for metallic minerals in the central volcanic region of the North Island.
The Government says 99 iwi and hapu have been consulted about the plans in areas across Bay of Plenty and Waikato regions.
New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals is seeking interest from firms interested in looking for metallic minerals in part of the country known to contain gold and silver deposits in both extinct and active geothermal fields.
The department says areas of significance to and sensitive to iwi and hapu will be excluded from any mining plans.
Companies that secure a permit have to engage with iwi and to report back to New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals every year.
The consultation with tribes was held between March and July, and the department received 22 submissions.