Australia's Richest Person Is A Female Mining Magnate

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 09: Gina Rinehart attends day seven of the Australian National Swimming Championships at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre on April 9, 2015 in Sydney, Australia.

Gina Rinehart, the daughter of high-profile iron-ore explorer Lang Hancock, has once again been named Australia's richest person.

The 68-year-old chairwoman of mining giant Hancock Prospecting topped the Financial Review Rich List for the third consecutive year after the Australian business-focused newspaper estimated her net worth to be around AUD$34 billion ($24 billion), up AUD$3 billion ($2.1 billion) from last year.

The collective net worth of the richest 200 Australians rose to $555 billion over the past year, according to the report.

Rinehart was also listed as Australia's richest person by Forbes' real-time billionaires list, but her net worth was estimated by the financial magazine to be higher at $29.2 billion.

Rinehart went to the University of Sydney, but she did not finish a degree, lasting only a year at college because “she objected to the lectures of a left-wing economics professor and found she had nothing in common with her classmates,” according to The New Yorker.

The only child of Lang and Hope Hancock, Rinehart inherited her father's Hancock Prospecting and became its chairwoman in 1992 after he died.

She rebuilt the then-financially distressed company, and in 2006, she became Australia's first female billionaire. 

To date, Hancock Prospecting's biggest asset is the Roy Hill mining project, which started shipments to Asia in 2015.

In the 2010s, Rinehart expanded her holdings into areas outside the mining industry, including agriculture. She bought several cattle stations, and as per Forbes, she is now the second-largest cattle producer in Australia.

Rinehart ranked sixth on Forbes' list of the richest women in the world for 2022. L'Oréal heiress Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers and Walmart heiress Alice Walton topped the list with $74.8 billion and $65.3 billion in net worth, respectively.

Rinehart was previously locked in a prolonged legal battle with her three oldest children, John Hancock, Bianca Rinehart and Hope Welker Rinehart, over their family trust, which owns just under a quarter of Hancock Prospecting.

In 2015, Rinehart lost control of the family trust, which was estimated to be worth around $3.1 billion at the time, to her daughter Bianca, the BBC reported.

The mogul's fourth child, Ginia, had sided with their mother in the legal battle, saying that the case filed by her siblings was "motivated entirely by greed."

Gina Rinehart

Photo: Matt King/Getty Images

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