As the mining industry continues to flourish, executives in the sector are turning record profits, with Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest today named as Australia’s richest businessman.
The mining magnate has an estimated wealth of $6.2 billion, placing him on top of the annual BRW Executive List.
Last year, Forrest was actively involved in campaigning against the proposed mining tax, which would impose extra tax on mining companies turning over large profits.
Forrest and other mining bosses campaigned against the tax, which they said would cripple the economy and cost jobs, by turning investors off new mining projects.
BRW Rich Lists editor, Andrew Heathcote, said the mining magnate’s fortune will continue to grow with the booming resource industry.
“If iron ore demand stays strong and Fortescue is able to keep investors happy, Forrest’s wealth could go beyond the $10 billion mark,” he said.
Heathcote said Forrest is not the only mining executive on the list and this is reflective of the importance of the sector.
“The prevalence of miners on this year’s list demonstrates the changing shape of our share market," Mr Heathcote said.
"There has been a lot of talk lately about a two speed economy and this year’s list supports this.
"The fact that 81 of the top 200 are involved in resources or mining services shows that the two-speed economy has well and truly kicked into gear."
Last month, the daughter of mining magnate Lang Hancock, and successful businesswoman in her own right, Gina Rinehart, was named as Australia’s richest woman.
Rinehart has found great success in transforming her late father’s company, Lancock Holdings, as well as moving more recently into media ventures.
In December she almost doubled her stake in Fairfax Media to hold just under 4 per cent of the newspaper, digital and radio group.
Her stake puts her behind The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian Financial Review and is worth $120 million.
It’s understood Rinehart increased on her shares after her 2 per cent holdings in Fairfax became public knowledge.
In November she paid $165.6 million for 10 per cent of Ten Network Holdings, to join fellow fortune holders James Packer, Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon on the Broadcaster’s Board.
James Packer, son of media mogul Kerry Packer was number 3 on the list, and number 5 is Kerry Stokes.
Packer recently left the Ten Network after a falling out with Lachlan Murdoch and other directors over a new chief executive.
Packer’s resignation came prior to an announcement that the group planned to take a key executive from Stokes and the matter of whether Ten’s new chief executive, James Warburton, can start at the station, is currently being fought in court.
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