Iron Road Limited has moved to the next step in the approvals process for its massive iron ore project in central Eyre Peninsula.
The Central Eyre Iron Project (CEIP) is touted as a multi-billion-dollar resource which could become SA's largest iron ore mine.
Today, the company announced that it had moved a step closer to approvals, with the State Government determining that it should proceed to produce an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) - the most rigorous level of assessment.
Managing director Andrew Stocks said in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange that the company had been working towards the milestone for three years, undertaking extensive investigations and technical studies.
"The next step in the project assessment and approvals process is to complete the EIS, addressing the expected environment, social and economic effects of the CEIP infrastructure," Stocks said.
He commended the Commonwealth and state governments for reaching an agreement to avoid unnecessary duplication of environmental approvals.
Iron Road expects to submit the EIS document to the State Government during the first quarter of 2015.
Mineral Resources Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the multi-billion-dollar magnetite mine and export project would create more than 700 jobs during its operating life and up to 1950 during construction.
He said the EIS would cover a 148km rail project, a deep-sea port and export facility at Cape Hardy, 7km south of Port Neill, a 1.3km jetty and wharf, and an infrastructure corridor.
"The size, scope and economic benefit of this project for our state is enormous," Koutsantonis said.
"That's why the State Government has been working with Iron Road Limited to provide expert advice on the requirements of the various rigorous approval stages both state and commonwealth governments require for a project of this size."
The infrastructure for the project was granted major development status in August 2013. In February this year, Iron Road completed a feasibility study.
Production is expected to begin in 2018, with the company aiming to export 21.5 million tonnes per annum of high grade iron concentrate.