Gina Rinehart has once again cemented her spot as the country’s most successful mining mogul, topping a new Forbes list of the richest Australians, although Nathan Tinkler has now been dropped from the rankings altogether after a shocking year.
The decline of mining wealth is a significant trend of the list. Rinehart’s wealth has fallen by nearly $1 billion, while other industry figures such as Ivan Glasenberg and Andrew Forrest also watching their fortunes tumble.
Gaming seems to be the order of the day, with James Packer scoring third place with a massive jump in fortune from $1.45 billion to $5.79 billion.
Shane Oliver, chief economist for AMP Capital, told SmartCompany the decline among mining entrepreneurs is no surprise. Many economists and analysts now agree this stage of the mining boom is nearing its end.
“This is probably indicative of what’s happening,” he says. “The mining boom has gone through a few phases, and we’ve moved now from exploration to now investment. That phase is about to end.”
“In the past couple of years, prices have been mixed even as demand remains high. The investment boom is set to peak out.”
Gina Rinehart has topped the list, although her wealth has been slashed by $965.39 million due to falling commodity prices. Most recently Rinehart topped off a busy 12 months with an investment in an oil and gas company.
James Packer had the largest increase, with his fortune rising from $1.45 billion to $5.79 billion, mostly thanks to the sale of Consolidated Media to News Corp. His gaming vehicle, Crown, has also enjoyed a significant rise in value.
Packer was also the youngest member on the list at 45 years old.
The year has been kind to the gaming industry, with 89-year-old entrepreneur Lee Ainsworth also making his return onto the list for the first time since 2010 with a fortune of $1.03 billion.
The total number of billionaires on the list rose by three to 23 during 2012.
But in the biggest surprise of the list, Nathan Tinkler has disappeared completely after a shocking year, in which several of his companies have collapsed and his mining fortune was all but erased. Even his horse racing empire has disappeared.
He ranked as high as 26th in 2011 with a fortune of $801.27 million, but is now nowhere to be seen.
Tinkler is now facing a number of business collapses. His stake in Whitehaven Coal has also declined, with the company losing 41.59% of its value in the past 12 months.
A number of other miners had their wealth decline. Ivan Glasenberg dropped from $6.95b to $6.47b, while Andrew Forrest fell to fifth place after losing $482 million.
However, despite the pain in mining, it was a good year for the rich – only six members watched their wealth decline from last year, while five have returned after an absence of more than a year.
The top 10:
1. Gina Rinehart, $US17b
2. Ivan Glasenberg, $US6.7b
3. James Packer, $US6b
4. Frank Lowy, $US5.3b
5. Andrew Forrest, $US4.8b
6. Harry Triguboff, $US4.8b
7. Anthony Pratt, $US4.5b
8. John Gandel, $US3.5b
9. Kerr Neilson, $US2.5b
10. Paul Ramsay, $US2.4b