Gina Rinehart triples wealth after mining deals, named world's richest woman

Gina RinehartAustralian billionaire Gina Rinehart was yesterday named the richest woman in the world following two major deals she signed that nearly tripled her wealth.

The major international iron and coal deals, which lifted her wealth to $29.17 billion, according to the BRW Rich 200 List, make her the eighth-richest person in the world.

With the deals she also takes another step towards to fulfilling a life-long family dream to have the family company Hancock Prospecting build and operate an iron ore mine in the Pilbara Australia. The $18.87 billion increase in her wealth works out to earning almost $600 a second, the average annual wage every 2- minutes, or $51.7 million a day, according to analysts.

The news of her estimated wealth would hardly go unnoticed by her three estranged children, John, Bianca and Hope, who have resorted to legal action to remove her as trustee of the family trust. Based on the valuation by BRW, Australia's leading business magazine, their shares in Hancock Prospecting are now worth more than $9 billion, but it would not be possible for them to leverage against them due to a clause in the company constitution that only allows sale to lineal descendants of their grandfather, Lang Hancock.

The Rich List has undergone drastic changes thanks to the mining boom that has led traditional operators such as Frank Lowy, James Packer and Gerry Harvey having to rub shoulders with mining entrepreneurs such as Andrew Forrest and Rinehart.

According to BRW, if the resources boom were to continue, Rinehart's wealth could rise to $100 billion, which would make her the richest person in the world.

''The $18.87 billion increase in her wealth is unparalleled. It is a product of foreign investment in new projects, increased production and a recovery in the iron ore price over the past six months,'' says Andrew Heathcote, editor of the list.