WHOA: Australia’s Richest Person Just Doubled Her Fortune

Gina Rinehart

[credit provider=”The Sydney Morning Herald ” url=”http://www.smh.com.au/business/billionaire-rinehart-sued-by-daughter-20110908-1jzhl.html”]

Australian mining heiress Gina Rinehart is on her way to becoming the world’s richest woman after she doubled her fortune to $20.63 billion this week.Rinehart, who runs the private resources giant Hancock Prospecting, made headlines last year when Citigroup valued her at $11 billion, noting she could take the title of world’s richest person if commodity prices stay strong in the coming years.

Now a new investment from South Korean steel giant Posco has taken her one giant step closer, according to Smart Company.

Posco confirmed it will spend about $1.5 billion for a 15% stake in Rinehart’s upcoming Roy Hill iron ore mine in Western Australia, which gives the project a total notional value of about $10 billion.

On top of the enormous annual royalty checks she earns from her other resources assets, plus her smaller non-mining investments, Roy Hill is set to lift Rinehart’s personal wealth to $20 billion on this year’s rich lists, by Smart Company’s calculations.

That’s not far from Walmart heiress and world’s current richest woman Christy Walton, who Forbes has valued at $24.5 billion.

If Rinehart’s wealth continues to grow at anywhere near the same pace — she has more large projects in the pipeline, which are eventually expected to generate up to $10 billion a year — the world’s absolute wealthiest person Carlos Slim, with a fortune of $63 billion, might need to watch his back. 

Here’s how Gina Rinehart positioned herself to become the world’s richest person >