#7 Rinat Akhmetov
Rinat Akhmetov(pictured left in 2008) 39th on the list of the world’s billionaires making him the 7th richest miner.
Akhmetov is worth $16 billion and like many of his oligarch pals made his money from the privatization of state assets in the ex-Soviet republics during the 1990s. According to Forbes his company System Capital Management, the largest conglomerate in the ex-Soviet republic, “already controls over 60% of coal production and energy generation in Ukraine.” He is the sole owner of the firm.
Akhmetov has been a member of parliament in Ukraine since 2007 for the Party of Regions but not much is known of his private life.
He has invested heavily in the Shakhtar Donetsk (the word Shakhtar means “miner”) soccer club in his hometown in the heart of Ukraine’s coal region. He lives in London and in 2010 bought the most expensive penthouse on the planet at One Hyde Park for $220 million and according to one paper is already planning a $100 million renovation for the three-storey pad. Akmetov apparently has Vladimir Kim, owner of Kazakhstan copper producer Kazakhmys, as a neighbour in the building.
He is 45, married and has 2 sons. Ukranian paper Kommersant put his wealth in 2011 at over $25 billion.
#8 Vladimir Lisin
He dropped out of the top 40 richest people this year because falling stock in his Novolipetsk Steel wiped out a whopping $8 billion of his wealth this year.
The steelmaker, which traces its roots to the 1930s is based in Lipetsk south of Moscow and owns Russia’s third largest iron ore mine. Privatized in the 1990s, Novolipetsk exports the bulk of its output. Chairman Lisin has also pushed the company into railways and ports.
Lisin is a graduate of the Siberian Metallurgical Institute (1979) and holds doctorates in Metal Engineering and Economics. He is married with 2 children and Forbes reports “he constructed one of Europe’s largest shooting-range complexes in Lisya Nora, which is close to Moscow.”
#9 Alexei Mordashov
Another man of steel Alexei Mordashov enjoys a net worth of $15.3 billion according to Forbes. That ranks him as the 45th richest person in the world.
As boss of Severstal, Mordashov has expanded the footprint of the steelmaking firm globally with operations across Europe and the US. Severstal Resources also has various greenfield coal and iron project on the go worldwide including Liberia, Brazil and Russia.
It plans to spend $660 on these projects this year, but much of Mordashov’s time is going into Nordgold, which he listed separately in London in January. The precious metal miner has a number of projects in Guinea, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Kazakhstan and Russia and already produces more than 560,000 ounces a year.
Forbes gives his background as “son of mill worker parents he became finance director of a steel mill. When the plant’s elderly general director instructed him to buy up company shares so it would not fall into the hands of an outsider, Mordashov bought most of them himself.”
Mordashov is 46 years old, divorced, and the father of five.
#10 Vladimir Potanin
In 2012, more than $14 billion still gives you a top 50 spot in Forbes billionaire list and Vladimir Potanin (image by kremlin.ru in 2003) just make it despite being more than $3 billion poorer this year than in 2011.
Potanin now owns 30% of Norilsk Nickel after having lost control of the miner in 2008 when his long-time partner Mikhail Prokhorov sold his stake to Oleg Deripaska (just as well, Deripaska lost more than $8 billion of his wealth because of Norilsk’s underperformance).
Norilsk is the foremost producer of nickel and palladium in the world and is also a top miner of platinum and copper and from its Siberian base runs mines in Australia, Botswana, Finland and South Africa.
Potanin also controls Russia’s biggest television and newspaper group, ProfMedia, is a big sponsor of the arts and in 1996 at the tender age of 35 had a brief stint as First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.