- Mining magnate Gina Rinehart is the wealthiest person in the country, valued at $28.89 billion, according to the AFR’s Rich List.
- She’s joined by second-placed Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest, with a net worth of $23 billion.
- A rocketing iron ore price landed 12 Western Australian miners in the top 200 list this year with a collective fortune of nearly $80 billion.
- Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.
It’s been an incredibly tough year for many but not for Australia richest it seems.
Of those, it was clearly Australian miners that struck serious gold during the pandemic, according to this year’s AFR Rich List, published in full on Thursday.
The wealthiest Australia this year was magnate and heiress Gina Rinehart. The executive chair of privately-owned Hancock Prospecting more than doubled her already formidable wealth over the last 12 months to $28.89 billion. It moves her again from her long-held position as Australia’s richest woman to the country’s richest person.
Hancock, which she inherited from her late father Lang Hancock, specialises in mineral exploration and extraction. More significantly, it remains one of the largest leaseholders on vast swathes of the Pilbara, home to the world’s largest iron ore deposits.
Rinehart’s success cumulated this year as Hancock’s Roy Hill mine paid out its first-ever dividend this week, after extracting one billion tonnes of iron ore over a period where the price of it keeps shooting higher as the world goes on an infrastructure spending spree.
She’s not the only one to have been hitched to a skyrocketing iron ore price in the last two years.
It’s also propelled Fortescue chair Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest to second place, with a net worth of $23 billion, almost triple his $7.99 billion fortune from last year. Such was the explosion of wealth tied to iron ore that at one stage Twiggy was earning $500 million per week, according to AFR Rich List editors Michael Bailey and Julie-anne Sprague.
Forrest’s inclusion will come as a surprise to no one, banking $1.11 billion in Fortescue dividends on a single day in August on the back of “record results”. He remains one of the few “cash billionaires” to make the AFR’s list, which is often dominated by those who have their wealth largely tied up in their own companies.
Certainly, he’s been flexing it over the last year. Between bankrolling Google and Facebook adversaries, taking control of iconic Australian brand R.M. Williams, chucking $70 million at a bushfire fund, as well as making some dubious comments about climate change and said bushfires, it’s been a damn big year for the boy from Minderoo.
Both he and Rinehart are joined by no less than 10 other Australians tied to WA mines. They collectively doubled their own wealth to make the top 200 list, and are estimated to control a fortune of nearly $80 billion.
Comparatively, the top 200 on average ‘only’ increased their net worth by 24%.
Here’s the top 10:
- Gina Rinehart $28.89 billion (up from $13.81 billion)
- Andrew Forrest – $23 billion (up from $7.99 billion)
- Anthony Pratt & family – $19.75 billion (up from $15.57 billion)
- Hui Wing Mau – $18.06 billion (up from $10.39 billion)
- Mike Cannon-Brookes – $16.93 billion (up from $9.63 billion)
- Scott Farquhar – $16.69 billion (up from $9.75 billion)
- Harry Triguboff – $14.42 billion (up from $13.54 billion)
- Clive Palmer – $9.18 billion (up from $4.9 billion)
- Frank Lowy – $8.30 billion (down from $8.56 billion)
- Kerry Stokes – $6.26 billion (up from $5.69 billion)
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