Top Ten Mining Billionaires 2016             

Every year Australian Mining investigates the list of the world’s richest people and extracts the top ten richest miners in the world, looking at who they are, how they made their wealth, and how their wealth has fared year on year. Unsurprisingly, this year’s top ten consists of the same ten names as last year, however, the majority’s wealth levels have dropped dramatically year on year as the downturn bites, wiping billions from their individual portfolios.


Below is the who’s who, and what they are worth.

  1. Alberto Bailleres Gonzales – $6.9 billion

2015: 9th place $7.8 billion


bailleresChair of the second largest mining company in Mexico and one of the world’s largest silver mining companies, Industrias Penoles, Gonzales has slipped from ninth place last year. The 84 year old also controls the Grupo Palacio de Hierro chain of department stores which stocks mainly international brands such as Burberry and Hermes. He has a stake in pension fund manager Grupo Profuturo and insurance company Grupo Nacional Provincial as well as FEMSA, Mexico’s Coca Cola bottling company.



  1. Wang Wenyin – $7.2 billion

2015: 10th place $13.6 billion


Wenyin is chairman of Amer International, one of the largest copper and cable product suppliers in the world. After working in a warehouse in China, he eventually started his own power cord business, with his company now employing more than 15,000 staff across its own mines and factories. Amer also has over 1000 km2 of mining area in China as well as 10, 000km2 worldwide. It recorded sales of $43.6 billion in 2014, with the company spending $20 million for a minority stake in molybdenum mining firm General Moly in Colorado.


  1. Lakshmi Mittal – $8.4 billion

2015: 5th place $9.8 billion


Chief executive of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaking company, Mittal has dropped from fifth position last year as falling commodity prices continue to affect the company. Revenues fell by 20 per cent in 2015 to $64 billion, resulting in a net loss of $7.9 billion.

Mittal’s net worth peaked in 2008 at $69.1 billion, and he is currently the 6th richest billionaire in India.

  1. Gina Rinehart – $8.8 billion

2015: 7th place $9.8 billion


On top of losing her five-year title as Australia’s richest person (to property developer Harry Triguboff), Rinehart, executive chairman of Hancock Prospecting, also suffered losses from low iron ore prices.  Most of Rinehart’s wealth comes from the joint venture with Rio Tinto, Hope Downs, as well as the Roy Hill Project. Despite her loss of the top spot, Rinehart is still Australia’s richest miner, followed by Fortescue’s Andrew Forrest.

  1. German Larrea Mota Velasco and family – $9.2 billion

2015: 3rd place $10.5 billion


Velasco and his family are owners of nearly half of Grupo Mexico, the largest mining and infrastructure company in the country. It is also the third largest copper producer in the world. The mining tycoon has moved from third position in 2015. The company comprises three main divisions: ITM, which owns two railroads; Americas Mining Corporation, which has mining assets in Peru, USA, and Mexico; and a stake in airport operators. Following a toxic spill of 40,000 cubic meters of copper sulphate acid at its copper mine in Sonora, Mexico last year (which contaminated two rivers nearby) the company agreed to place $150 million in a trust to compensate those affected by the spill. Velasco is also the second richest person in Mexico.

  1. Vladimir Lisin – $9.3 billion

2015: 8th place $10.3 billion


Lisin has moved up the ranks from 8th position last year. The steel magnate is chairman of the board of directors in the country’s Novolipetsk steel company (Russia’s largest steel producer). He also controls Universal Cargo Logistics Holding along with shipping companies and ports.



  1. Iris Fontbona – $10.1 billion

2015: 4th place $10.7 billion


Maintaining fourth position is widow of mining and beverage tycoon Andronico Luksic, who died in 2005 of cancer. Founded in the early 1950’s Luksic Group was primarily involved in copper mining, expanding into other areas including metal processing, manufacturing, transport, and agriculture. Luksic left his fortune to his wife and their three sons. Fontbana and her sons (one of whom died of lung cancer in 2013) control Antofagasta which owns copper mines in Chile. They also own a majority stake in one of the country’s largest conglomerates, Quineco, which offers a range of services including manufacturing, banking, and transportation. They are the richest people in Chile.

   3.  Alexey Mordashov – $10.9 billion

mordashov2015: 6th place $13 billion


Kicking off the top three is Alexey Mordashov, former CEO of Russian steel company Severstal. Mordashov resigned in 2015 after 19 years in the role, but still remains a majority shareholder. He also has a stake in Nordgold gold mining company, tourism company TUI Group, and power engineering company Silovye Mashiny (which translates to Power Machines). Moving up the ranks from sixth position last year, Mordashov is also the 6th richest person in Russia.

  1. Vladimir Potanin – $12.1 billion

2015: 1st place $15.4 billion


Dropping from pole position last year is chairman of Norilsk Nickel, Vladimir Potanin. Apart from nickel, Norlisk also produces platinum, copper, and palladium. In 1993, Potanin, along with Mikhail Prokhorov (owner of America’s Brooklyn Nets basketball team), formed Uneximbank, later gaining control of Norilsk Nickel and oil firm Sidanco. The two also established Interros, which owned stakes in metals, mining, and banking. By 1998 he had already amassed a ten digit net worth of $1.6 billion. The partners parted ways in 2007. Interros was also co-founder of the Russian International Olympic University in Sochi, and one of the major developers of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. Potanin is also the first Russian corporate leader to sign the Giving Pledge where billionaires dedicate a majority of their wealth to charities either during their life or when in their will. Other signatories include Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, and Elon Musk.

  1. Alisher Usmanov – $12.5 billion

2015: 2nd place $13.9 billion


Regaining his position at the top of the ranks (after moving to second place in 2015) Usmanov has stakes in steel and iron ore giant Metalloinvest; Kommersant, the largest daily newspaper in Russia; and MegaFon, the country’s second largest mobile phone operator. Born in Uzbekistan, Usmanov is also the second largest shareholder in Arsenal Football Club (increasing his shares to more than 30 per cent earlier this year) as well as having investments in China’s online marketplace Alibaba, and phone making company Xiaomi. He is the third richest man in Russia.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.