Miners still top Aussie rich-list

Despite falling commodity prices wiping close to $1 billion from Gina Rinehart's fortune, new estimates show the mining magnate easily remains Australia's richest person.

According to the latest Forbes rich list, Rinehart's $16 billion empire remains leagues ahead of the rest of Australia's wealthy.

Overall the number of Australian billionaires rose by three to 23 in 2012, but while Rinehart retained her position most other miners have seen their fortunes decline.

Fortescue Metals Group founder and chairman Andrew Forrest had $480 million sliced from his fortune in 2012, with his net worth falling to $4.6 billion and his rich-list ranking falling two places to number five.

Glencore International chief Ivan Glasenberg, who became an Australian citizen in the 1980s, also saw his net worth fall from $6.9 billion to $6.4 billion.

Nathan Tinkler was one of the hardest hit, with his position falling off the rich-list entirely after coming in at number 26 in 2011.

In 2011 Tinkler's fortune was estimated to be worth around $800 million, but he is now being pursued by a range of creditors who claim he owes around $700 million.

Release of the new rich list coincides with South African mining billionaire Patrice Motsepe's decision to donate half of the income generated by his empire to charity.

Motsepe, who is South Africa's richest black man, is estimated by Forbes to have a net worth of $2.65 billion.

In a statement Motsepe said the donations would go toward improving the living conditions of the “poor, disabled, unemployed, women, youth, workers, and marginalised South Africans, Africans, and people around the world”.

Image: AAP/ Tony McDonough

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