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Gina Rinehart, Australian, Named World’s Richest woman 2012
Family financial squabbles have done nothing to stop Gina Rinehart’s relentless rise as the richest woman in Australia, and now the world.
The latest BRW magazine’s rich list says Ms Rinehart’s $29 billion mining fortune is $3 billion greater than Christy Walton’s, the widow whose inherited wealth springs from US retail giant Wal-Mart.
Ms Rinehart has ridden Australia’s resources boom like no-one else; her wealth ballooning by an unparalleled $18.87 billion in the past year.
That equates to $1,077,054 every 30 minutes of every day.
The gargantuan increase flows from foreign investment in new projects, increased production and a recovery in the iron ore price over the past six months, BRW said.
And much more could be on the way.
BRW’s top five richest Australian women
- Gina Rinehart: $29.17bn
- Angela Bennett: $2.03 billion
- Vicky Teoh: $525 million
- Charlotte Vidor: $485 million
- Imelda Roche: $440 million
“If the demand for natural resources remains strong, additional multi-billion mines are almost inevitable,” BRW Rich List editor Andrew Heathcote said.
“There is a real possibility that Rinehart will become not just the richest woman in the world, but the richest person in the world.”
That title is currently held by Mexican telecommunications mogul Carlos Slim Helu, with $69 billion.
“A $100 billion fortune is not out of the question for Rinehart if the resources boom continues unabated,” Mr Heathcote said.
Three of Rinehart’s four children – John Hancock, Bianca Rinehart and Hope Welker – launched a lawsuit against their mother in September in a bid to oust her as trustee of the multi-billion-dollar family trust established by her late father, Lang Hancock.
Unlike many wealthy heirs, Ms Rinehart has not just maintained her fortune but multiplied it many times over.
When she made her debut on the rich list after her father’s death in 1992, her net wealth was estimated at $75 million.
Now she is worth 386 times as much.
Despite being the largest shareholder of Fairfax Media, which publishes BRW magazine, Ms Rinehart has been unable to join the board of the media company.
On Wednesday Fairfax appointed James Millar to the board as the replacement for Robert Savage, who is retiring.
Ms Rinehart, who owns 12.6 per cent of the company, had been seeking two seats on the board.