Australia’s richest woman shrugs off slowdown with new mine plans

The richest woman in Australia, mining magnate Gina Rinehart, is shrugging off talk of a global slowdown in the resources sector and will push ahead with plans for a new iron-ore project and a coalmine.


Rinehart is the chair of Hancock Prospecting, which was founded by her father Lang Hancock. She was valued at $4.4 billion last year before commodity prices tumbled.


Hancock is currently hunting for new partners for her Roy Hill iron ore mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region and the Alpha coalmine in Queensland. She hopes both mines will be in production by 2012.


Rinehart says she hopes to have Asian partners involved in the projects but declined to give away any names in an interview with Bloomberg Television.


Rinehart, who currently owns a large slice of Rio Tinto’s Hope Down iron ore mine, says she is not concerned by the slowdown in resource-hungry China and is confident the world’s second largest economy can get back on track.


“I have confidence that China will get it right and it will be booming again soon. This dip that we are seeing right now is a great time to focus our thoughts on how we should be doing things better.”


She also says a long-term view is needed on development of new mines.


“China and others in Asia don’t want a shortage situation. Most of these mines, you can’t just increase their size at the flick of a button.”


Rinehart also used the interview to continue her campaign for the relaxation of rules that stop Australian companies employing overseas workers at below minimum wages. Rinehart has written twice to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on the matter.


“It won’t matter so much to Australians what the guest laborers get if they’re employed at worldwide conditions,” she said.


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