Rinehart still Australia's richest despite losing $2.4b

Rinehart still Australia's richest despite losing $2.4b
Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart.

SYDNEY - Mining magnate Gina Rinehart had Aus$2.01 billion (S$2.4billion) wiped off her fortune in the past year but remains Australia's wealthiest person, an annual rich list showed Friday.

The tycoon, head of resources giant Hancock Prospecting, saw her wealth slump due to a falling iron ore price but she still topped the respected BRW Rich List at Aus$20.1 billion.

Earlier this year Rinehart, among the richest women in the world, secured a US$7.2 billion (S$9 billion) funding package for her massive Roy Hill iron ore mine in Western Australia that will help feed Asian steel demand.

The deal was the biggest of its kind in the world and her wealth is expected to rise strongly next year when the project starts shipping its first ore, Business Review Weekly said.

Number two in the rich stakes with Aus$7.6 billion was the head of global paper and packaging giant Visy Industries, Anthony Pratt, whose saw his wealth jump nearly Aus$2.0 billion.

Gaming tycoon James Packer also had a good year in third, with his fortune swelling more than Aus$1.0 billion to Aus$7.2 billion thanks to a strong performance by his Crown casinos empire.

This helped offset an estimated Aus$100 million divorce settlement.

Westfield shopping centre tycoon Frank Lowy - one of 18 people to appear on the top 200 list every year of its 30-year run - dropped to fourth from second despite making an extra Aus$288 million.

Ivan Glasenberg, chief executive of mining and commodities heavyweight GlencoreXstrata, rounded out the top five.

There were more billionaires on the list this year than ever before at 39, including 34-year-old university friends Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar who started software company Atlassian with a Aus$10,000 loan.

They are now worth a combined Aus$2.1 billion with clients including Microsoft, NASA, and Facebook.

Property remained the dominant creator of wealth with 52 people on the list making most of their money in that sector.

Men continued to dominate with just 14 women among the top 200.

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