Australian businesswoman Gina Rinehart who inherited a debt-ridden mining company 20 years ago, is predicted to become the world's richest person, according to media reports on Tuesday.
Rinehart, 57, is already the richest Australian after her wealth more than doubled to $10.3bn this year. That still places her far behind Carlos Slim, Mexico's cellphone magnate worth some $73bn, but Rinehart's 100%-owned Hancock Prospecting has massive iron ore and coal projects that will start producing by 2014 and earn her annual profits of as much as $10bn.
The report on worldwide resources projects – dubbed Generation Next – evaluated 400 mining projects around the world that are not currently in production but are moving through the design/approval stages.
- Roy Hill iron ore in WA, which is scheduled to start production in 2014, building to a rate of 55 million tonnes a year, and valued at 688,888 tonnes of copper equivalent.
- Alpha Coal in Queensland, also scheduled to start in 2014 at a rate of 30 million tonnes of coal and year — rated as 563,000 tonnes of copper
- Kevin’s Corner coal in Queensland, scheduled to start in 2013 also at a rate of 30 million tonnes of coal — and also rated as 563,000 tonnes of copper.
According to a story in The Daily Telegraph, Gina Reinhart and Angela Bennett, who are heirs to the Hancock and Wright iron ore fortunes, are suing mining giant Rio Tinto over the rights to iron ore beneath as much as 150 square kilometres of the Pilbara iron ore region of Western Australia:
The lawsuit in the NSW Supreme Court is seeking an estimated $136 million in past royalties dating back two decades. If successful, the legal bid could also reap the descendants of Hancock and Wright a further $25 million each year in royalties, even assuming the iron ore price halves by 2016.