Mining magnate Rinehart bets on unconventional oil

Mining billionaire Gina Rinehart is venturing into the oil business by investing close to $6.6 million in junior Lakes Oil through her Hancock Prospecting coal and iron ore empire.

In a file to the ASX on Tuesday, Lakes Oil said the deal would see Hancock take an 18.6% interest in the company. As part of the agreement, Rinehart ally Ian Plimer will join Lakes Oil’s board.

Lakes is looking for opportunities with tight gas in Victoria's Gippsland basin, and is also pursuing the potential for unconventional oil and gas around the state. However Victoria has had a moratorium on fracking for coal seam gas and unconventional gas reserves since August last year.

According to ABC News, the moratorium will remain in place until national guidelines are established for the onshore industry.