Two of Australia’s richest women are set to face off in a bitter court battle over billion-dollar iron ore royalties and ownership.
A decade-long dispute between companies owned by Gina Rinehart and Angela Bennett will begin in the West Australian Supreme Court on Monday.
The civil proceedings are expected to last up to four months, and center on a partnership formed in the 1980s by the businessman’s father, Lang Hancock, and Peter Wright.
Wright Prospecting and Hancock Prospecting are the private companies involved in the case, but neither Ms. Rinehart nor Ms. Bennett are expected to appear in court anytime soon.
The battle came down to royalties and ownership of two sets of iron ore mines in WA’s Pilbara region, known collectively as Hope Downs.
A decade-long dispute between companies owned by Gina Rinehart (pictured) and Angela Bennett will begin in the West Australian Supreme Court on Monday.
Ms Rinehart’s company Hancock Prospecting owns both sets along with mining group Rio Tinto.
Wright Prospecting, owned by Mrs Bennett and her nephews Leonie Baldock and Alexandra Burt, should share equally with them the royalties from the mines known as Hope Downs 1, 2 and 3 acquired by Hancock Prospecting from Rio Tinto.
Wright Prospecting is also claiming a stake in Hope Downs 4, 5 and 6, which could be worth billions of dollars.
It is understood that Hancock Prospecting will argue that Wright Prospecting has no interest in the Hope Downs Mine and is not entitled to the payout.
Wright Prospecting filed their initial claim against Hancock Prospecting in 2013.
Another aspect of the high-profile court case is Ms Rinehart’s two eldest children, John Hancock and Bianca Rinehart, who are pursuing their own legal arguments claiming a share of the Hopes Down fortune.
Wright Prospecting, owned by Ms Bennett (pictured) and her nieces Leonie Baldock and Alexandra Burt, made their initial claim against Hancock Prospecting in 2013
Who is the mining heir Angela Bennett?
Ms. Bennet ranked 20th on this year’s rich list with a fortune of $4.63 billion.
Ms Rinehart, Australia’s richest woman Although famous for her wealth, little is known about Ms Bennett, making pictures of the billionaire more difficult to come by.
The 79-year-old has seven children and also owns the family investment company AMB Holdings.
The company has a 50 percent stake in Right Prospecting.
Ms Bennett is Australia’s third-richest woman, according to AFR’s Rich List, ahead of only Ms Rinehart and Canva co-founder Melanie Perkins.
He hit the headlines in 2009 when he sold his mansion in Perth’s Mosman Park for $57.5 million, breaking the record for WA’s most expensive home.
Who is Gina Rinehart?
Miss Rinehart is Australia’s richest person with an estimated fortune of $37.41 billion, topping the rich list for the fourth consecutive year.
He took over his father’s company after his death in 1992 and, as executive chairman, turned the once financially distressed company into the incredibly successful business it is today.
Most of his wealth came from the Roy Hill iron ore mine that he developed.
The 69-year-old has four children.
In June, he was crowned Western Australian of the Year.
Its wealth comes primarily from the success of its massive Roy Hill mine in the Pilbara, WA, which exported more than 60 million tonnes of iron ore in 2021-22, and Hancock Prospecting, which made a bumper profit of $5.8 billion in 2022.
The civil proceedings are expected to last four months, and center on a partnership formed in the 1980s by the businesswoman’s father Lang Hancock and Peter Wright (pictured is Gina Rinehart with her late father Lang Hancock in 1982).
Ms Rinehart reflects on the success of Hancock Prospecting, which she transformed from an ailing company into one of Australia’s leading mining corporations.
‘It’s a long way from where my family company was 30 years ago and I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved in this time for our company and what we’ve been able to contribute to Western Australia and our country and our future,’ he said.
Mrs. Rinehart is also a committed philanthropist, supporting many medical, educational, sports, health and community organizations.
In 1993, she founded the Hancock Family Breast Cancer Foundation before raising awareness of the devastating disease by painting more than 100 Roy Hill trucks pink.