Premier Steven Marshall says the Upper Spencer Gulf, including Port Pirie, is fundamental to the state's "transformation ambition"
He was speaking after arriving for the Global Maintenance Upper Spencer Gulf Conference and Trade Expo at the Northern Festival Centre on Wednesday.
"I am happy to be in Port Pirie," he told The Recorder.
"We have an ambition to grow the state economy by three percent a year.
"It is three times greater than the average growth in the past decade. A big part of that growth will come from our regions, particularly the Upper Spencer Gulf.
"The government is investing in roads and infrastructure and skills development."
In his speech to about 450 delegates, he praised Global Maintenance's chairman, Greg Clothier, of Cowell.
"It is such an important conference and trad exhibition in South Australia," he said. "It is a massive pleasure to be here."
Referring to Nyrstar lead smelter, he said the issue of its prospects had been "one of the first things that I received on my desk as the incoming premier" after the March state election.
He spoke of the new copper mine at Carapateena, north of Port Augusta, and plans for Roxby owns uranium production to increase.
Energy and Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan told the conference that SA was poised for the hydrogen economy which was "coming".
In outlining the state's resources, he said the Moomba-Adelaide gas pipeline would celebrate its 50th anniversary later this year.
Meanwhile, Mr Marshall was due to visit John Pirie Secondary School, UniHub Spencer Gulf and the cemetery where the Headstone Project will be displayed to him.
The project upgrades the unmarked graves of returned servicemen.