Mining magnate beats Murdoch in Australian rich list

He still rules his media empire with an iron rod, but in his native Australia Rupert Murdoch has been supplanted as the country's wealthiest businessman by an iron ore magnate, Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest.

Apart from in China, his main customer, Mr Forrest is little known outside Australia. But according to the annual rich list, the 49-year-old has amassed a personal fortune of $6.2bn (£3.85bn). That puts Mr Murdoch's estimated $5.7bn in the shade, relegating him to the number two spot.

The list – published by BRW business magazine – reflects the state of the economy, and the mining industry is booming thanks to China's insatiable demand for Australian minerals. Soaring iron prices have boosted the value of Mr Forrest's shares in his Fortescue Metals Group by one-third over the past year. Mr Murdoch's wealth, by contrast, has shrunk from $6bn.

Third on the list is another media tycoon, James Packer, who also has extensive gambling interests. Mr Packer is worth $3.6bn. Fourth is Kerry Stokes, who owns the Seven Network, one of Australia's biggest commercial TV networks. His personal wealth is valued at $1.8bn.

Baby-faced Mr Forrest helped bring about a change of prime minister last year: he led a fight against Kevin Rudd's plan to impose an extra tax on the mining industry's "super profits" – one of the main reasons for Julia Gillard's coup. Ms Gillard has replaced the tax with a slimmed-down version.

Worth just $36m seven years ago, Mr Forrest has prospered by taking on two of the world's biggest mining companies, Rio Tinto and BHP. Fortescue Metals is now the third largest player in Western Australia's remote Pilbara region, shipping tens of millions of tons of iron ore to China annually.

Nearly half of Australia's 200 richest executives hail from the mining and resource sector. Coal, nickel, gold, uranium, lead, natural gas – you name it, China needs it for its industrial revolution, and Australia has untold quantities beneath the ground.

Only four women feature in the list, the richest being Katie Page, managing director of the Harvey Norman electrical and computer retailer. Ms Page, who is married to the company's co-founder, Gerry Harvey, is at number 66, with shares worth $51m.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

SharePoint Administrator/Developer (C#, VB.NET, VISUAL STUDIO 2

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SharePoi...

European HR Director, London

£80000 - £95000 per annum: Charter Selection: A leading Global organisation Ja...

Day In a Page

Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home

It's not always fun in the sun: Moving abroad does not guarantee happiness

Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home
Migrants in Britain a decade on: They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire

Migrants in Britain a decade on

They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire
Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

The 'Thick of It' favourite thinks the romcom is an 'awful genre'. So why is he happy with a starring role in Sky Living's new Lake District-set series 'Trying Again'?
Why musicians play into their old age

Why musicians play into their old age

Nick Hasted looks at how they are driven by a burning desire to keep on entertaining fans despite risking ridicule
How can you tell a gentleman?

How can you tell a gentleman?

A list of public figures with gallant attributes by Country Life magazine throws a fascinating light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

The duo behind Asos and Achica have launched a new venture offering haute couture to help make furry companions fashionable
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire
Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Celebrate St George’s Day with a nice cup of tea. Now you just need to get the water boiled
Sam Wallace: Why Giggs is perfect fit as Manchester United boss... in the longer term

Sam Wallace

Why Ryan Giggs is perfect fit as Manchester United boss... in the longer term
Renaud Lavillenie: The sky's the limit for this pole vaulter's ambitions

Renaud Lavillenie: The sky's the limit for this pole vaulter's ambitions

Having smashed Sergei Bubka's 21-year-old record, the French phenomenon tells Simon Turnbull he can go higher
Through the screen: British Pathé opens its archives

Through the screen

British Pathé opens its archives
The man behind the papier mâché mask

Frank Sidebottom

The man behind the papier mâché mask
Chris Marker: Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Chris Marker retrospective is a revelation
Boston runs again: Thousands take to the streets for marathon as city honours dead and injured of last year's bombing

Boston runs again

Thousands of runners take to the streets as city honours dead of last year
40 years of fostering and still holding the babies (and with no plans to retire)

40 years of fostering and holding the babies

In their seventies and still working as specialist foster parents