Thu 5 Mar 2015
1. (60 globally) Vladimir Potanin – [Russia] – $15.4 billion ($12.6 billion in 2014)
Potanin has shot up the rankings from last year, being one of the few miners to come out ahead despite the downturn. Last year he was ranked 86th globally, and only at number 7 in regards to mining.
He is now also the richest person in Russia.
2.(71 globally) Alisher Usmanov – [Russia/Uzbekistan] – $14.4 billion ($18.6 billion in 2014)
Usmanov has been unseated from his top position last year after recording a 22 per cent drop in his wealth year on year. He also slipped significantly in global rankings, after coming in 40th last year.
This also means he is now no longer the richest person in Russia, slipping to third.
Usmanov, like many Russian and former Soviet oligarchs, built his fortune in mining operations.
He runs USM, holding 100% voting rights in the company, and is the co-owner of Metalloinvest, which owns metal and mining businesses such as Lebedinksy GOK and Ural steel mills.
Usmanov also holds a large stake in underwater mining company Nautilus Minerals, which holds exploration tenements off Papua New Guinea.
3.(77 globally) German Larrea Mota Velasco – [Mexico] – $13.9 billion ($14.7 billion in 2014)
Velasco has recorded the third consecutive drop in his revenues year on year, although his wealth stating relatively stable compared to the rest of the sector, which contributed to his rising in the rankings from 6th to third for mining, although he did fall from 67th to 77th globally.
German Lerrea Mota-Velasco is the head of Grupo Mexico, the largest mining corporation in Mexico and the third largest copper producer in the world.
Through its subsidiary, Southern Copper, it has the largest copper reserves in the world
4. (82 globally) Iris Fontbana – [Chile] – $13.5 billion ($15.5 billion in 2014)
In a similar fashion to Velasco, a relatively small drop in wealth has seen Fontbana retreat down the global list from 58th last year, but actually ascend the mining list from 5th position in 2014.
Iris Fontbona is the widow of Antonio Luksic, who is the founder of the Luksic Group.
Similar to GroupoBAL, Luksic holds a number of interests in different areas, but predominantly in mining. The group has major holdings in Antofagasta, the UK listed copper miner.
5.(82 globally) Lakshmi Mittal – [India] – $13.5 billion ($16.7 billion in 2014)
The only Indian on the list, Mittal’s fortunes have been hit particularly hard, with his wealth more than halving in the last four years.
Mittal came in third for mining, and 52nd globally last year.
Mittal is the chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal, the largest steel manufacturer in the world.
He opened his first steel mill in Indonesia at the age of 26 and has gone from strength to relative strength since.
Coming off a high of $31.1 billion in 2011, Mittal has seen his fortunes dwindle as the demand for steel shrinks.
6.(89 globally) Alexei Mordashov – [ Russia] – $13 billion ($10.5 billion in 2014)
Mordashov is another Russian who has fared well over the last year in spite of the spiralling rouble. Last year he snuck into the list in 10th place, and sat at 111th, globally.
Like a number of Russian and East European billionaires, Mordashov made his money during the break-up of the Soviet Union.
Whilst working for Cherepovetsky Metallurgical Plant he bought a major stake in the factory when it was privatised. He later became a general director of the business and went to build the conglomerate Severstal, acquiring coal and mining companies. His wealth grew in spite of the selling off his North American steel plants to the Renco Group for $1.2 billion, less than half of what he paid for them only three years ago.
7.(94 globally) Gina Rinehart – [Australia] – $12.5 billion ($17.7 billion in 2014)
The only Australian on this list, Rinehart’s fortunes have slipped significantly, by close to a third, in the wake of the tumbling iron ore price. Last year she came in second for mining, and 46th globally.
Despite this she is still Australia’s richest person.
While many believe Gina inherited much of her wealth from her father’s company and operations through Hancock Prospecting, when she assumed the chair of HPPL the company was actually found to be in serious debt.
According to the company “much of Rinehart’s wealth has been generated since her executive chairmanship commenced in 1992″.
This was done through the development of the Hope Downs iron ore project, the acquisition and development of the Roy Hill project, and its Queensland coal interests,” which all took place under Mrs. Rinehart’s executive chairmanship,”Hancock Prospecting said.
The company owns swathes of extremely prospective iron ore tenements throughout the Pilbara, which is now being transformed into the massive Roy Hill mine.
Rinehart also shares in the profits generated by the Hope Downs mine, and also has major stakes in the Alpha Coal and Kevin’s Corner coal project in the Galilee Basin.
A heavily dramatised version of her life recently appeared on T.V., of which we will say no more.
8. (107 globally) Vladimir Lisin – [Russia] – $11.6 billion ($16.6 billion in 2014)
Lisin has dropped down the rankings dramatically, falling from fourth in mining, and 53rd globally, last year.
A Russian steel tycoon, Lisin a one of the world’s leading authorities on metallurgy, and holds a number of patents on metallurgical processes.
In a similar vein to Australia’s own Nathan Tinkler, (although much more successful) Lisin started at the bottom, working as a mechanic at a Soviet coal mine, working his way through the ranks to become a deputy chief engineer.
Thanks to tenacious trading, which gained him a large share of the nation’s steel and mining industry following Soviet collapse, eventually becoming the sole owner of Novolipetsk Steel in 22000.
He has been a director of Norilsk Nickel since 2002.
9.(121 globally) Alberto Bailleros Gonzalez – [Mexico] – $10.4 billion ($12.4 billion in 2014)
Demonstrating the fading fortunes of many mining magnates, while Gonzalez has remained stable at ninth position on the mining billionaires list, he has dropped significantly down the global list, falling from 90th last year.
Gonzalez owns a holding company called GroupoBAL, which amongst other things runs Penoles, which is the world’s largest producer of refined silver and bismuth, as well as Latin America’s largest producer of lead and zinc.
10.(125 globally) Wang Wenyin – [China] – $9.9 billion
Wenyin is a newcomer to the mining top ten list, and the only Chinese citizen.
He has charged up the global rankings, rising from 354th last year to his new position just outside of the top 100, demonstrating the significant newfound wealth in China.
He is the chair of the Amer International Group. Which produce cable and copper products, and holds interests in a number of copper mines based in China’s Jiangxi Province.