This Woman May Soon Be World's Richest Person
Australian mining tycoon Gina Rinehart could be worth $100B
By Tim Karan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2011 3:25 PM CDT
Gina Rinehart, chairman of Hancock Prospecting, could soon be the richest person in the world.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – The world may soon have a new richest person, and good money says you've never heard of her. Australian mining tycoon Gina Rinehart is projected to reach a net worth as high as $100 billion—more than Carlos Slim ($74 billion), Bill Gates ($56 billion), and Mark Zuckerberg ($13.5 billion). She's currently worth $9 billion, making her the wealthiest person in Australia, but her value is rising quickly because of high iron ore prices and increased exports to China, writes Clare O'Connor at Forbes. And her company is about to expand in a big way.

O'Connor takes note of a separate analysis at Smart Company that lays out how Rinehart's real worth is closer to $30 billion and on its way to the $100 billion figure. Citigroup names her company, Hancock Prospecting, as the world's fifth largest mining outfit. Although Rinehart inherited the company from her father, it was allegedly "in shambles" when she took over, and she spent the past 20 years turning it into a global powerhouse. If her three upcoming mines are as successful as her Hope Downs Mine, and if mineral prices stay high, her profits could be $10 billion per year.