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Mining tycoon first woman to be richest Australian

26 may 2011, 10:25
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Getty Images
Getty Images
Mining tycoon Gina Rinehart was Wednesday named Australia's richest person, marking the first time a woman has topped the BRW magazine list of the country's wealthiest citizens, AFP reports.

Rinehart, whose fortune stems from her father's iron ore firm but who has recently branched into television, has more than doubled her wealth to Aus$10.3 billion (US$10.8 billion) over the past 12 months.

"This is the first time in the 28-year history of the BRW Rich 200 that a woman has taken the number one spot," BRW Rich 200 editor Andrew Heathcote said.

Rinehart, 57, took over the business of her late father, mining pioneer Lang Hancock, in 1992 and is credited with expanding and developing mines in Western Australia and Queensland since then.

Men still dominate the list, however, with just 15 women on the roster of the country's 200 richest people while the overall wealth of the rich has grown markedly -- jumping 23 percent to Aus$167.25 billion this year.

Heathcote said the rise was due largely to the Asia-driven mining boom, as well as the general recovery of fortunes following the global financial crisis.

Mining features heavily on the list, with another Western Australian iron ore miner Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest ranking third with an estimated Aus$6.18 billion.

The list revealed the country's second richest person is Ivan Glasenberg, who as chief executive of the Swiss-based commodities trading firm Glencore is said to be worth Aus$8.8 billion.

Glasenberg's citizenship was only recently revealed when Glencore was publicly listed on the London and Hong Kong exchanges.

Anthony Pratt, of packaging manufacturer Visy, was in fourth position with some Aus$5.18 billion followed by another mining magnate in fifth, Clive Palmer with Aus$5.05 billion.

Last year's wealthiest Australian, Frank Lowy, has dropped to sixth with a wealth of some Aus$4.98 billion built from his shopping centre empire.

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