Glencore was founded in 1974 by Marc Rich, a fugitive businessman controversially pardoned by Bill Clinton shortly before leaving office in 2001.
Glasenberg, 55, holds more than a 15% stake worth $6.8 billion in the Swiss-based company that went public in a $37 billion listing in May last year. He has vowed not to sell any of his shares as long as he works there.
Glasenberg, alumna of Wits University in Johannesburg living in Ruschlikon, Switzerland, cut his teeth in his native South Africa’s coal industry in the 1980s and is known as a highly competitive dealmaker that regularly works 70-hour weeks.
The obsessively private Glasenberg who once represented South Africa in race-walking is married with two children. He is also an Australian citizen and Forbes puts his net worth at $7.3 billion, placing him behind Australia’s Gina Rinehart, number four on the list of mining billionaires.
Glencore is currently locked in merger talks with diversified miner Xstrata, run by fellow South-African born Mick Davis, that would see the emergence of a resource powerhouse with some $200 billion in annual revenues.
Glencore’s IPO also made billionaires of Spaniard Daniel Mate ($2.8 billion) and Greek citizen Aristotelis Mistakidis ($2.8 billion). The two, number 40 and 41 of mining’s richest, started at Glencore in the early 1990s in in the company’s zinc, copper and lead trading department. Alex Beard, director of Glencore’s oil business raked in $2.1 billion during the IPO.
Glencore has not only been good to its employees – US investor William Macaulay last year made $1 billion by purchasing convertible bonds in Glencore according to Forbes and Bulat Utemuratov (#71) who sold zinc and gold mining co’s to the Swiss firm is once again a billionaire thanks to the IPO.
#21 Nicky Oppenheimer & family
De Beers and the Oppenheimer family, one of mining’s most storied relationships, has come to an end after three generations.
In March regulators gave the go-ahead to Nicky Oppenheimer (pictured in 2011) to sell his family’s remaining 40% in the empire which for most of its existence prospered by keeping an iron grip on the production and sale of rough diamonds worldwide, to another Oppenheimer firm Anglo-American for $5.1 billion.
Cecil John Rhodes formed De Beers Consolidated Mines in 1888 in South Africa. Rhodes either bought up or squelched competitors but Ernest Oppenheimer who traded diamonds from the famous Cullinan mine north of Johannesburg refused to join the cartel.
Ernest Oppenheimer’s Anglo-American, a company co-founded with US financier JP Morgan, eventually bought out De Beers and Ernest Oppenheimer became chairman of the diamond firm in 1927.
The Oppenheimers continued the monopoly business model executed through its Diamond Trading Company throughout the 20th century but in the late 1990s changed tack. It stopped stockpiling rough diamond supply and moved into retail and jewellery manufacturing. The Oppenheimers took the company private in 2001 after a century-long listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
Forbes gives the Oppenheimer wealth a number of $6.8 billion, placing the family at number 139 globally and first in South Africa (the magazine considers Glasenberg an Australian).
Nicky Oppenheimer lives in Johannesburg, is married and has one child. He holds a masters from Oxford.
#22 Beny Steinmetz
Forbes calculates Beny Steinmetz‘s fortune at $5.9 billion held in the Geneva-based Steinmetz Diamond Group he inherited from his father and diversified into a mining, oil and real estate company.
While his real estate investments have hit a rough patch Steinmetz’s mining deals through BSGR have paid off handsomely.
Iron ore giant Vale bought the company’s Simandou operations in Guinea two years ago for $2.5 billion, making Steinmetz a considerable profit. He is also preparing to float Octea, a Sierra Leone diamond miner on the Hong Kong stock exchange. The family company is De Beers biggest customer for rough diamonds.
Aged 55, Beny and his wife Agnes have four children and live in Israel. The Steinmetz family is the world’s #169th wealthiest.