Aussie mining tycoon finally opens accounts to the public

Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart has bowed to demands from Australia's securities regulators to open her accounts following a string of dilatory filings since 2006.

ABC Radio reports that three of Rinehart's private companies have dropped appeals against a request from the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) launched two years ago for their financial reports to be fully disclosed.

Rinehart's flagship company, Hancock Prospecting, refused to comply with ASIC's request, and alongside sister companies Hancock Minerals and Hopedowns Iron Ore lodged an appeal with the administrative appeals tribunal arguing that the reports should not be filed on the grounds they contained sensitive commercial information.

The companies dropped the appeal prior to a hearing, however, and delivered the reports to regulators on Christmas Eve 2012.

According to Jeffrey Knapp, an expert in accounting from the University of New South Wales, Rinehart's companies have been habitually late in filing financial reports to regulators. One of the reports was filed on Christmas Eve was 785 days late, while Hancock's 2006 report was filed 428 days late and reports since then lodged over a year late.

The financial reports reveal the full extent of Rinehart's lucrative earnings. Hancock Prospecting reaped an after-tax profit of AUD$1.2 billion in 2011, nearly doubling its earnings from the preceding year.