Gina Rinehart said the negativity aimed at the mining industry needs to stop, stating Australia would be unable to survive without the sector.
Speaking to the Small Business Association of Australia (SBAA) in Darwin on Saturday, Rinehart said the mining sector was often the target of misinformation by those committed to stalling development.
"My question to the short-sighted is, do you really think we could survive without mining?
"If they are honest, the answer is no," Rinehart said.
Her company is behind the $7 billion Roy Hill iron ore mine in Western Australia, and is also vying to build the $10 billion dollar Alpha coal project in Queensland.
Rinehart said not enough people understood the importance of mining to Australia’s economy.
"For an industry that delivers so much, wouldn't you think there would be just a little more understanding and less negativity for what mining contributes to our country?", Rinehart said
"Mining is the largest earner of export income generating more than $200 billion in much-needed revenue for our country, a country in record debt.
"It provides jobs directly and indirectly for Australians including in places where there would otherwise not be work – and mining indirectly employs many people in so many important related businesses.”
Labelling anti-development sentiment as a threat to growth, Rinehart said Australians needed to "stand up and speak out" for the industry.
She also hit out at red-tape and overregulation which she said is scaring away investors.
“We have become a nation of compliance, rather than performance," she said.
"Regulations are crushing the entrepreneurial spirit of our country, they are sending investment to countries that will then compete with us."
Rinehart said Roy Hill mine required more than 3000 approvals, while major projects in countries like to the US were streamlined to only require 100.
She called on the government to be smarter about the way in which it deals with businesses in order to attract investment in mining.