Mining billionaire and Fortescue Metals Group founder Andrew Forrest has joined a pledge to donate half of his wealth to charity.
The pledge makes Forrest the first Australian to join the 'Giving Pledge' founded by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, which has signed up some of the world's most wealthy entrepreneurs.
In their pledge letter Forrest and his wife Nicola said they had been lucky to grow up in Australia, and the pledge had been made with the “love and support” of their children.
They also alluded to their Christian faith guiding the decision to donate.
“Guided by the same principles of the book which inspired the successful leadership of our companies, the New Testament, we chose to help the least fortunate,” they said.
“We resist the temptation and pressure to alleviate suffering through short term solutions, such as cash handouts, as they can ultimately weaken people, choosing instead to construct long term solutions through collaboration with governments and other organisations.”
“Our aim is to significantly improve people's lives and happiness through their own independent sustainability.”
The Forrests said donating responsibly had been “even more satisfying” than creating a successful business, and recounted reading on a phsio's wall the caption “Those with the most toys when they die, still die”.
Forrest stood down from most duties at FMG in 2011 to focus on philanthropy, and his pledge is worth around $2.5 billion based on his present net worth.
Earlier this month South African mining billionaire Patrice Motsepe also decided to donate half of the income generated by his empire to charity.