Woman Rinehart, Gina (1954 - )

Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Mining entrepreneur
Alternative Names
  • Hancock, Georgina (birth name)

Written by Ann Standish, The University of Melbourne

Gina Rinehart was born Georgina Hancock in 1954 in Perth, Western Australia, the only child of the late mining magnate Lang Hancock and his then wife Hope Nicholas. Her family lived in the Pilbara district of northern WA, about sixty kilometres north of Wittenoom, the town that grew up around the asbestos mine founded by Lang Hancock in the early 1930s. It was also an area rich in iron ore. She completed her secondary education as a boarder at St Hilda's in Perth and later studied economics at the University of Sydney for a short period. However, she chose to leave university to work for her father, learning what she could about the iron ore mining operations in the Pilbara area.

When Lang Hancock died in 1992 leaving a bankrupt estate, Rinehart became Executive Chairman of the Hancock mining business, Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd (HPPL), and assumed control of its group of companies, all of which are privately owned. In this role, she has overseen the growth of the business from one in a parlous financial state to one of Australia's leading and most productive mining companies. Mrs Rinehart brought several major projects to the Hancock Group, including the Roy Hill Iron Ore project, and Tad's Corner and Paul's Corner coal projects, and three-quarters of the Kevin's Corner coal project in Queensland. In advancing these projects to their current world-class status, and in resurrecting Hancock Prospecting, Rinehart has been the key leading figure in Australian and international mining since the mid-1990s. In the 2000s, particularly, she has been behind international joint ventures between HPPL and companies in India, South Korea and other Asian countries.

Rinehart has become the first women to head the Business Review Weekly's Rich 2000 list and, by 2012, was one of the world's wealthiest women with a personal fortune of around $US18 billion. She is passionate in asserting the importance of the resources industry to Australia's overall economic prosperity. As a leader in the industry she is opposed to government regulation and concerned that high wages, high taxes and restrictions on foreign investment have a negative impact. To counter these concerns, she has founded the group Australians for Northern Development and Economic Vision (ANDEV), of which she is chair. She has presented her views in a number of forums, including a regular column in the Australian Resources and Investment magazine, where she has written: 'Today, sadly, jealousy of those who have worked hard to earn and invest continues, and with it the vitriol and hatred, with so little thought given to the fact that Australia really needs people to invest in and grow businesses that lead to opportunities for others and to help pay for the spending of our governments' (Rinehart, Changes we Need).

In recent years, Rinehart has been prominent in lobbying the federal government over policies affecting the mining industry, such as the resources tax and carbon reduction schemes. She has also expanding her interests into media holding with significant stakes in Ten Network Holdings and Fairfax Media.

In 2009 Gina Rinehart was named Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year (as well as four other Telstra business awards). In 2011 and 2012 she was recognized with a variety of awards, including the 2011 Government Media Mining Awards for Outstanding Leadership of a Mining Company, the 2011 Global Leadership Award for Masterclass CEO of the Year, the 2012 Diggers and Dealers 'Deal of the year' Award for the Roy Hill Project, the 2012 McMillan Woods Global Awards - Visionary CEO of the Year and the 2012 Trailblazer of Australia for promoting Australia internationally. She published Northern Australia and Then Some: Changes We Need to Make Our Country Rich, a collection of speeches and essays as well as her poems and photographs, in 2012.

Published Resources


  • Ferguson, Adele, Gina Rinehart: The untold story of the richest woman in the world, Pan Macmillan, Sydney, New South Wales, 2012. Details
  • Rinehart, Gina, Northern Australia and Then Some: Changes We Need to Make Our Country Rich, Executive Media, Melbourne, Victoria, 2012. Details

Magazine Articles

  • Bryant, Nick, What Gina Wants, The Monthly, May 2012. Details
  • Rinehart, Gina, Changes we Need to Make our Country Rich, Australian Resources and Investment, December 2012. Details

Newspaper Articles

  • Cadzow, Jane, 'The iron lady', The Age, 21 January 2012, p. 8. Details

See also