Two of Australia’s richest women will go head-to-head in a bitter court battle over billions of dollars in royalties and ownership of iron ore.
A decade-long dispute between the companies owned by Gina Rinehart and Angela Bennett will begin on Monday in the Supreme Court of Western Australia.
The civil proceedings are expected to last up to four months and center on a partnership formed by the businesswoman’s parents, Lang Hancock and Peter Wright, in the 1980s.
Wright Prospecting and Hancock Prospecting are the private companies involved in the case, but Ms. Rinehart and Ms. Bennett are not expected to appear in the courtroom at any time.
The battle comes down to royalties and ownership of two iron ore mining housing estates, collectively known as Hope Downs, in the Pilbara region of WA.
A decade-long dispute between the companies owned by Gina Rinehart (pictured) and Angela Bennett will begin Monday in Western Australia’s Supreme Court.
Ms Rinehart’s company, Hancock Prospecting, owns both sets with the Rio Tinto mining group.
Wright Prospecting, owned by Ms Bennett and her nieces Leonie Baldock and Alexandra Burt, argues that royalties from mines known as Hope Downs 1, 2 and 3 received by Rio Tinto’s Hancock Prospecting should be shared equally with them.
Wright Prospecting also claims a stake in Hope Downs 4, 5 and 6, which could be worth billions of dollars.
Hancock Prospecting is understood to argue that Wright Prospecting has no interest in the Hope Downs mines and is not entitled to a payment.
Wright Prospecting had filed its 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 making their own legal argument, claiming a share in the Hopes Down fortune.
Wright Prospecting, owned by Ms. Bennett (pictured) and her nieces Leonie Baldock and Alexandra Burt, filed their initial claim against Hancock Prospecting in 2013.
Who is the mining heiress Angela Bennett?
Ms. Bennett was ranked 20th on this year’s Rich List, with a net worth of $4.63 billion.
While Ms Rinehart, Australia’s richest woman, is famous for her wealth, little is known about Ms Bennett, and photos of the billionaire are even harder 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 Wright Prospecting.
Ms Bennett is the third richest woman in Australia, according to the AFR Rich List, with only Ms Rinehart and Canva co-founder Melanie Perkins ahead of her.
He made headlines in 2009 when he sold his mansion in Perth’s Mosman Park for a whopping $57.5 million, breaking records for the most expensive house in WA.
Who is Gina Rinehart?
Ms Rinehart is the richest person in Australia with an estimated wealth of $37.41 billion, topping the rich list for the fourth year in a row.
She took over her father’s company after his death in 1992, and as CEO turned the once financially struggling company into the incredibly successful business it is today.
Most of his wealth comes from the Roy Hill iron ore mine he built.
The 69-year-old has four children.
In June, Western Australia of the Year was crowned.
His wealth stems primarily from the success of his massive Roy Hill mine in the Pilbara, WA, which exported over 60m tonnes of iron ore in 2021-22, and Hancock Prospecting, which generated a handsome profit of $5.8bn in 2022.
The civil proceedings are expected to last up to four months and center on a partnership formed by the businesswoman’s parents, Lang Hancock and Peter Wright, in the 1980s (pictured, Gina Rinehart with her late father Lang Hancock in 1982)
Ms Rinehart reflected on the success of Hancock Prospecting in transforming it from a failing company into one of Australia’s largest mining corporations.
“It’s actually a long way from where my family business was 30 years ago and I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished in that time for our business and what we’ve been able to contribute to Western Australia and our country and our future,” she said.
Ms. Rinehart is also a committed philanthropist who supports numerous medical, educational, sports, healthcare, and community organizations.
In 1993, he established the Hancock Family Breast Cancer Foundation before raising awareness of the devastating disease by painting more than 100 Roy Hill trucks pink.