The Fortescue Metals Group, headed by Andrew Forrest, is making its first foray into international mining by applying to test for minerals in a vast area in New Zealand.
Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) has made several applications to test for iron ore sands on the west coast of the South Island in an area covering 4,000 kilometres.
The venture has upset a group of miners who claim their century old gold mining business could be jeopardised.
Bluescope Steel is already dredging iron ore sands along the North Island.
It is understood other miners including Rio Tinto and China's Sinosteel also have interests in the region.
FMG's Graeme Rowley says if its applications for permits are approved it will consult with concerned groups.
"At this stage it is so early in the process that we are not aware of some of the challenges that obviously through the consultation we will be involved in all of the issues that are raised by local community," he said.
"Obviously through the consultation we will be involved in all of the issues that are raised by local community and obviously if certain things become prohibitive then obviously the tenders will not be granted.
Keith Brodie from New Zealand's mining lobby Minerals West says FMG's application is too large and the governing body needs to scrutinise it closely.
"[To] make sure it complies with the minerals program that covers the whole of New Zealand," he said.
"Also to make sure that they're not sacrificing one part of the minerals industry for another so it has to be carefully considered."