The Chamber of Mines and Energy has urged the South Australian Government to concentrate on infrastructure investment now the BHP Billiton Olympic Dam mine expansion has been delayed.
Talks have been convened by the South Australian Premier in Adelaide with mining, local government, union and State Government representatives to consider the way forward.
Chamber chief executive Jason Kuchel said infrastructure, such as a deep sea port for iron ore exports, needed to be a focus in the wake of the Olympic Dam delay.
"The number one issue for South Australia is the lack of infrastructure and so, because many of the projects are actually quite small, we need Government intervention - not necessarily paying for the infrastructure but just in terms of actually assisting that infrastructure along," he said.
A consortium of companies is seeking environmental approvals to build a deep sea port at Port Bonython in upper Spencer Gulf.
If it proceeds, it will provide export facilities for several smaller iron ore miners.
"There is a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation in the sense that it's more difficult for the mines to get up if there isn't a suitable port, said Flinders Ports CEO Vincent Tremaine.
Mr Tremaine said Government money would help any venture.
SA Premier Jay Weatherill said the Government was happy to play a planning role for new port facilities.
"We can play a role as a facilitator, of course we won't be a funder," he said.
Port Augusta Mayor Joy Baluch said a delay in any mine expansion provided much-needed breathing room, especially for the Government.
"I don't think that the Government was really prepared if BHP Billiton took off immediately," she said.