Environmental impact guidelines have been released for a proposed deep sea port at Port Bonython, near Whyalla in South Australia.
They cover 136 environmental, social and economic issues, including concern about breeding areas for the giant Australian cuttlefish.
A consortium led by Flinders Ports is expected to take 12-18 months to complete an environmental impact statement of the Spencer Gulf Port Link (SGPL) project, which has an estimated cost of more than $600 million.
SA Planning Department director of strategic projects Peter Short said there was already agreement to avoid any construction work during the cuttlefish breeding season.
"We've certainly had many conversations with the proponents about how we manage the cuttlefish during construction," he said.
"Clearly there will be no construction works in the reef area during the aggregation season.
"But the proponents are also keen to do other things that might encourage the cuttlefish and help their breeding." The SA Government said a deep sea port would support the mining industry and be able to accommodate 180,000-tonne bulk iron ore carriers.
It was given major project status last March.
Flinders Ports CEO Tremaine hoped construction would take about three years, if approval for the project were given, and that it would be ready to handle exports in 4-5 years from now.
"SGPL looks forward to working together with the SA Government and the community to enable the project to achieve all necessary environmental and planning approvals to ensure the project is progressed in a timely manner and in a way that meets the expectations of our community," he said.