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Mining billionaires who made their fortunes the fastest

(Stock image.)

Billionaire fortunes have been whipsawed in recent months by global trade tensions and economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic. For one group, however — tycoons with major holdings in mining, particularly gold assets — it’s been a prosperous time.

Looking at the 100 richest people on the 2020 edition of Forbes’ World’s Billionaires List, compared the journey of each of the world’s richest self-made metals and mining billionaires to find out how long it took them to hit the $1 billion mark. 

According to the site, the average time to make a billion dollars in the sector is 16 years, compared to 21 years when combining all industries.

1. Vladimir Potanin

Mining billionaires who made their fortune the quickest
Norilsk Nickel CEO Vladimir Potanin. (Image courtesy of The Kremlin.)

Russia’s richest man acquired a stake in Norilsk Nickel during the country’s privatization in 1995. Today he owns just over a third of the company and has a net worth of $19.7 billion.

It took Potanin only seven years to earn his first billion.

The metals tycoon (59) has found himself in President Vladimir Putin’s firing line as Russia delegates the cost and logistics of the cleanup to a recent massive spill to Norilsk, responsible for the accident. The damage was caused when a diesel fuel reservoir at a power plant outside the northern city of Norilsk collapsed and flooded a nearby river.

2. Vladimir Lisin

Mining billionaires who made their fortune the quickest
Novolipetsk’s chairman Vladimir Lisin. (Image: Wikimedia Commons.)

He’s the chairman and majority shareholder of Novolipetsk, one of Russia’s four largest steelmakers. He spent 12 years in the sector before he made $1 billion.

His publicly traded company produced 15.7 million tonnes of steel and had $10.6 billion of revenue in 2019.

Lisin (63) also owns Freight One, the largest freight rail operator in Russia; port facilities operator UCL Port; and shipping company VBTH.

He has a net value of $18.1 billion.



3. Alexey Mordashov

Mining billionaires who made their fortune the quickest
Alexey Alexandrovich Mordashov. (Image: Wikimedia Commons.)

He was a majority shareholder in Severstal, a Russian conglomerate with interests in metal, energy and mining companies.

Mordashov (54) resigned as CEO in 2015 after 19 years in the role.

He’s worth $16.8 billion and it took him 15 years to make $1 billion.

Mordashov is currently working on a plan to pass his fortune to his children, in a country with no precedent for wealth transfer on this scale.

He told Bloomberg News in March he was developing a strategy for the wealth transfer that doesn’t destabilize his massive empire, spanning gold, power, steel and tourism.

4. Gina Rinehart

Mining billionaires who made their fortune the quickest
Gina Rinehart. (Image: Screenshot from YouTube.)

The Australian iron ore heiress runs Hancock Prospecting. She inherited the company in the early nineties from her father Lang Hancock, the legendary discoverer of the world’s largest iron deposit in the Pilbara region, in 1952.

Rinehart, 66, took over the mining company almost 30 years ago following the death of her second husband.

She’s worth $13.1 billion and amassed her first billion in 15 years.




5. Alisher Usmanov

Mining billionaires who made their fortune the quickest
Alisher Usmanov. (Image: Wikimedia Commons.)

He is one of the biggest names in Russian business. Usmanov’s (66) USM holding controls iron ore and steel producer Metalloinvest.

Unlike other Russian tycoons, not all of his wealth comes from the mining and metals sector. He also owns the country’s second-largest phone network, MegaFon, and has an indirect stake in, Russia’s largest internet company.

His fortune is pegged at $13.4 billion and made his first billion after 15 years.




6. Germán Larrea Mota-Velasco

Mining billionaires who made their fortune the quickest
Germán Larrea Mota Velasco. (Image: Screenshot from YouTube.)

The Mexican mogul (66) owns the country’s largest copper miner, Grupo Mexico, which also has operations in Peru and the United States.

The mining conglomerate is the largest in Mexico and the world’s third largest copper miner.

The group is also a major producer of silver, zinc, gold, lead and molybdenum.

Under his leadership as president and chief executive, Grupo Mexico expanded into the infrastructure and rail transportation sectors.

His fortune is estimated at $11 billion and it took him 30 years to make his first billion.


To check out how long it took the world’s richest people in other industries to earn their first billion, click here.