BRW names Gina Rinehart the world's richest woman

May 23, 2012, 3:24 pm Yahoo!7 Finance Yahoo!7

Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart has topped the 2012 BRW Rich 200 and has also been revealed as the richest woman in the world with a $29.17 billion fortune.

Rinehart has ridden Australia's resources boom like no one else, her wealth ballooning by an unparalleled $18.87 billion in the past year, according to the magazine's annual rich list.

The mining magnate who topped the BRW Rich 200 for the first time in 2011 earned a staggering  $2 million every hour last year.

That equates to $1,077,0540 every 30 minutes of every day.

The big numbers: A breakdown of how much Rinehart makes

“The $18.87 billion increase in her wealth is unparalleled. It is a product of foreign investment in new projects, increased production and a recovery in the iron ore price over the past six months,”  BRW Rich List Editor Andrew Heathcote says.

Rinehart’s wealth surpasses that of previous richest woman in the world, Christy Walton ($26 billion). She is the widow of John Walton and has a major stake in US-retail giant Wal-Mart.

Unlike many wealthy heirs or heiresses, Rinehart has not just maintained her fortune but grown it into a much larger one.

She debuted on the BRW Rich 200 following the death of her father Lang Hancock in 1992 with a net wealth of $75 million.

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 “If the demand for natural resources remains strong, additional multi-billion mines are almost inevitable. There is a real possibility that Rinehart will become not just the richest woman in the world but the richest person in the world,” Heathcote says.

To become the richest person in the world Gina Rinehart would have to pass reigning title holder, the Mexican telecommunications mogul Carlos Slim Helu ($69 billion).

According to BRW, a $100 billion fortune is not out of the question for Rinehart if the resources boom continues unabated. 

The magazine notes that the acrimonious dispute with her children has so far had little impact on her personal wealth.

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The vast quantum of her wealth is highlighted by the impact she has on the total BRW Rich 200 wealth statistics.

When Rinehart’s fortune is included, the BRW Rich 200 increased their overall wealth by 8.4 per cent per cent over the past 12 months to $181.2 billion. When it is excluded, overall wealth fell by 3.1 per cent.

(With agency inputs)

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