May 17, 2020

Five things we know about Georgina Rinehart after investing in Sirius Minerals potash project

Sirius Minerals
Potash mining
Georgina Rinehart
Dale Benton
2 min
Five things we knoe about Georgina Rinehart after her £245m investment in Sirius Minerals potash project
With the news hitting the mining industry that the richest woman in Australia has invested around £245m into the biggest potash mine development i...

With the news hitting the mining industry that the richest woman in Australia has invested around £245m into the biggest potash mine development in the UK, we ask the question, what do we know about Gina Rinehart?

The Australian has invested in the £2.4bn potash mine from Sirius Minerals, which we have kindly profiled on Mining Global here.

Here’s five things we know about Australia’s richest woman:

One of the most powerful women in the world

Mrs Georgina Rinehart currently sits at number 51 on Forbes list of the 100 most powerful women in the world with a net worth of $11.7 billion. Which quite frankly, makes her investment look like pocket change.

Chairman of the board

She is the Executive Chairman of Hancock Prospecting. The Australian company has a long and important association with the Pilbara and the iron ore sector. She took over the company from her father (more on him in a minute) Lang Hancock in 1992. One of her key focuses has been on the Hope Downs Iron Ore project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. 

Following in her father’s footsteps

Mrs Rinehart is the daughter of Lang Hancock, an iron ore magnate who played a key role in the iron sector of Australia. Hancock is famously known for the discovery of the largest deposit of iron ire in the Pilbara region of Western Australia in 1952. Years later in the mid-sixties, Hancock negotiated a deal with Rio Tinto Group to develop the iron ore find and called it Hope Downs after his wife – Hope Langcock. To this day Rio Tinto still operate at the Hope Downs mine site.

Hope Downs and Roy Hill
Rinehart’s other major focus is the Roy Hill project. The massive iron ore deposit, located around 340 kilometres south east of Port Hedlan in Australia, has a 55 million tonne per annum iron ore mining output. In December 2015, Roy Hill loaded its first shipment of iron ore for export which paved the way for shipments to Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan.

Significant investment

In July 2015, Rinehart purchased the 400,000-hectare Fossil Downs cattle station for around $30million. The property makes up part of a growing agricultural portfolio, which includes a stake in WA-owned dairy company Bannister Downs, a $25-million herd of wagyu beef cattle, and a 50% stake in two other Kimberley cattle stations, Liveringa and Nerrima, which was purchased for $40 million the year before.


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Jul 20, 2021

British Lithium Pressured Due To Calls for Electric Cars

3 min
The ever-increasing need for electric vehicles is mounting pressure on British Lithium as the 2035 deadline inches closer

The British demand for lithium is set to reach 75,000 tonnes by 2035 as the government works towards their ban on the sale of high-polluting diesel and petrol vehicles within the UK. This comes as automakers worldwide continue to insist on the benefits electric vehicles will have on slowing the rate of climate change. 

It is estimated that the UK will require 50,000-60,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year by 2035 for battery production to satisfy government needs. This is assuming production remains at 1.2 million vehicles per year, and the amount of lithium required does not increase.

British Lithium, which hopes to begin constructing a quarry to produce 20,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year in a $400 million investment, are not without competitors, both within the UK and abroad. 

Competition For Lithium Rises In Europe 

After only five years after its initial launch, Cornish Lithium is setting its sights on becoming a UK powerhouse in mining lithium, aiming to begin commercial production in under four years. Jeremy Wrathall, a former investment banker and current managing director of Cornish Lithium, had the future in mind when founding the company. 

“In 2016, I started to think about the electric vehicle revolution and what that would mean for metal demand, and I started to think about lithium,” he said in an interview with AFP. “A friend of mine mentioned lithium being identified in Cornwall, and I just wondered if that was a sort of unrecognised thing in the UK.”

Lithium was first discovered in Cornwall around 1864 and has not been mined again since 1914 when it was produced as an ingredient in fireworks. Now, however, Cornish Lithium is reportedly in the testing stage to see if the metal can be produced commercially to meet the growing demand required for the electric car sector. 

Despite Cornwall’s close historic ties to mining lithium, Wrathall insists that the project is purely commercial. 

Cornish Mining Revival For Lithium Production

“It’s not a mission that drives me to the point of being emotional or romantic,” he says. “It’s vitally important that we do get this technology otherwise Europe has got no lithium supply.”

The European Commission has also stated their goal to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 to aid the environment. That being said, the majority of lithium extraction currently relies on power provided by environmentally damaging fossil fuels─a slight contradiction. 

Alex Keynes, from the Brussels-based lobby group Transport & Environment, is adamant that mining for lithium should be done sustainably. 

“Our view is that medium-to-long term, the majority of materials including lithium should come from efficient and clean recycling.

“Europe from a strategic point of view should be looking at securing its own supply of lithium.”

Despite growing competition from abroad, British Lithium Chairman, Roderick Smith, continues to place importance on the mining of lithium within the UK. 

“Imagine what the UK economy would look like if we lost our automotive industry,” Smith says. “The stakes are high for the UK.”

Smith expects the UK to compete with other European countries to secure a lithium battery plant in the near future.

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