* Rinehart reveals details of privately held Hancock
* Hancock Prospecting made A$1.9 bln in two years to June
* Hancock Prospecting borrowed money from Rio Tinto
By Jane Wardell
SYDNEY, Jan 4 Australian mining mogul Gina
Rinehart gave in to pressure from the corporate watchdog to
disclose details of her fortune, filing reports that show her
privately held firm raked in profits of nearly A$1.9 billion ($2
billion) over two years.
The documents, filed on Christmas Eve, showed that after-tax
profits at Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd, named after the heiress'
father Lang Hancock, almost doubled to A$1.2 billion as of June
30, 2011, compared with A$688 million a year earlier.
The publicity-shy Rinehart, Asia's richest woman, had long
fought demands from ASIC for the financial reports on the
grounds that they would divulge commercially sensitive details
about her Hope Downs iron ore joint venture with Rio Tinto PLC
and her plans to build the $10 billion Roy Hill mine.
The reports released by the Australian Securities and
Investments Commission on Friday also revealed that Hancock
Prospecting borrowed money from Rio Tinto.
The development of Hope Downs, a major source of Hancock
Prospecting's revenues, in Western Australia benefited from the
demise of the decades-old annual price fixing of iron ore in
2009, which enabled prices to ebb and flow with demand.
Over the two financial years covered in the reports, prices
of iron ore for immediate delivery went from a low of $77 a
tonne to a peak of $191.80 - a more than twofold jump.
Since then, prices have dipped as low as $80, but have
recovered to around $150.
Hancock Prospecting sat on a cash pile of A$1.68 billion as
of June 30, 2011, and more than doubled its dividend to A$12.5
million from A$6.1 million in 2010, according to the reports.
Gina Rinehart's father and Peter Wright discovered vast
tracts of iron ore in the Pilbara in the 1950s and owned
tenements jointly through a partnership known as Hanwright. With
both men no longer alive, ownership fights have raged between
the prospectors' descendants for years.
Rinehart, whose fortune was estimated by Forbes at around
$18 billion last year, is also fighting three of her four adult
children over control of a $4 billion family trust that is
funded by the profits from Hope Downs.
The documents filed with ASIC refer to unspecified legal
actions that seek royalties from the Hope Downs mine.
"At this time it is not possible to quantify what, if any,
damages could be awarded if the claim were to be successful,"
the company said in the 2011 report, which was first demanded by
ASIC in September 2011.
The documents also show that Rio Tinto loaned money to
Hancock Prospecting to allow the company to contribute its share
of funds to the latest mine, and as of June 30, 2011, Hancock
still owed more than $83 million to Rio Tinto.
But the company also reaped $1.26 billion by selling
undeveloped coal deposits in Australia's land-locked Galilee
Basin to India's GVK Power & Infrastructure Ltd,
controlled by Indian billionaire G.V. Krishna Reddy. Hancock
retains a minority stake.
The 58-year-old Australian billionaire is currently seeking
to secure funding for her flagship Roy Hill mine, rail and port
Hancock Prospecting owns about 70 per cent of Roy Hill
Holdings, with South Korean steel giant POSCO,
Japanese trading company Marubeni Corp, South Korea's
STX Corp, and Taiwan's China Steel Corp
jointly holding the remaining 30 percent.