Ivan Glasenberg

When creating a $200bn commodities giant is only the beginning
$7bn | 56 | Married | 2 Children | South Africa | ↑

Glencore CEO triumphed in one of mining’s longest and richest takeover battles and took the top job at the combined group from his Xstrata counterpart in the process.

A workaholic and voracious dealmaker Glasenberg will be the number two shareholder in Glencore-Xstrata after the Qatari sovereign wealth fund which he coaxed over to his side when the deal was on the brink of collapse.

Glasenberg, alumna of Wits University in Johannesburg, cut his teeth in his native South Africa’s coal industry in the 1980s and once represented the country in race-walking before moving to Australia.

Now living in Ruschlikon, Switzerland, his mailbox was bombed while he was hobnobbing with the wealthy and powerful in Davos in January and the media have now set their sights squarely on the obsessively private Glasenberg and his dealings around the world.

Prospects: Good – a vertically integrated Glencore-Xstrata will entrench its dominance in certain metals markets and Glasenberg will keep the mega-deals rolling in

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Henry Sapiecha

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22…Precious Metals / Diamonds

Beny Steinmetz

Inherits diamond business; moves into strip and flip
$6-$7bn | 57 | Married | 4 Children | Israel | ↓

Born in Israel, Steinmetz moved to Antwerp as a young man to run the diamond trading business he inherited from his father Rubin.

Steinmetz Diamond Group, now based in Geneva Switzerland, tied up Angolan supply under De Beers’ nose and more recently diversified into oil, real estate and mining other than diamonds under the BSG Resources banner.

Estimates of his wealth vary wildly but more about his business dealing may be revealed in an ugly battle over the Simandou iron project in Guinea, half of which Steinmetz acquired for a fraction of its value under less than transparent circumstances days before the death of dictator Lansana Conté who had stripped it from Rio Tinto earlier.

The alleged strip & flip worked wonders for Steinmetz when in 2010 Vale bought half of his share for $2.5bn. After forking out the first $500m the Brazilian firm has now stopped making payments after dropping the project altogether. Also involved with fellow Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler in mining deals in the DRC.

Prospects: Not good – his Sierra Leone diamond mine was hit by deadly clashes in December and a corruption probe of Simandou may still catch up with him

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Henry Sapiecha

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Suleiman Kerimov

Financial wizard who likes to push it to the limit
$6-7bn | 47 | Married | 3 Children | Russia | ↑

High stakes dealmaker who managed to claw back losses in the 2008 banking collapse – he went from $17bn to $3bn thanks to ill-timed investment in JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs – by moving into potash and precious metals.

The main driving force behind the $8bn takeover by Uralkali of Silvinit to form the globe’s largest – and by far most profitable – potash miner in 2010. Sold a $3bn stake to China last year.

A math genius long suspected of being the front man for secret Kremlin investments, he built up a huge stake in Polymetal before listing the gold and silver miner in London. Followed it by buying 37% of Polyus Gold, Russia’s largest gold company.

Known for $10m parties where pop stars like Beyoncé provide entertainment, he nearly died from burns sustained after crashing his Ferrari on Nice’s streets.

Born in Russian backwater Dagestan near the border with Chechnya, he’s spent more than $300m on star players and a stadium to boost the local team Anzhi Makhachkala.

Prospects: Great – plans to merge Polymetal and Polyus has fallen through, but for well-connected Kerimov the next deal is never far away.

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Henry Sapiecha

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24…Precious Metals / Diamonds

Nicky Oppenheimer & Family

Almost flawless exit from a sparkling family business
$6-7bn | 67 | Married | 1 Child | South Africa | ↑

In March 2012, diamonds and the Oppenheimer family, one of mining’s most storied relationships, officially came to an end.

Sold his family’s remaining 40% in De Beers which for most of its existence prospered by keeping an iron grip on the global rough diamond market for $5.1bn to another Oppenheimer creation Anglo-American, which Nicky’s grandfather Ernest co-founded with US financier JP Morgan in 1917.

In the late 1990s De Beers stopped stockpiling rough diamond supply and moved into retail and jewellery manufacturing and shortly after the Oppenheimers took the company private after a century-long listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Holds a masters from Oxford, lives in Johannesburg within earshot of the AngloGold lion enclosure at the city zoo when he is not enjoying his Tswalu Kalahari game reserve, the largest of its kind in private hands.

Prospects: Good – Oppenheimer negotiated a great price for De Beers at a time when Rio and BHP were struggling to find buyers for their gem divisions


Henry Sapiecha

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25…Iron Ore & Steel

Andrew Forrest

Iron ore king rode the Chinese wave better than most
$5-6bn | 51 | Married | 3 Children | Australia | ↑ ↓

Twiggy (his nickname in school) was finally exonerated in October last year from charges he misled investors about his Fortescue Metals Group’s deals with China. He remains chairman, but the allegations cost him the CEO job.

Once a keen amateur boxer, he grew up on a farm in Pilbara, Australia’s iron ore heartland, and after working as a stock broker he founded Anaconda Nickel in 1994. His fortune is all tied up in FMG which he built up from nothing in 2003 to a 150mtpa outfit today on the back of the China-led boom.

Perth-based Forrest once called Australia’s mining taxes “evil” and this year joined Gina Rinehart in a political coalition to populate Australia’s north and exploit the vast resources on Asia’s doorstep. Tireless promotor of Aboriginal rights he’s promised to give away half his fortune

Prospects: Fair – debt-laden FMG looked wobbly when iron fell to 3-year lows in September 2012, but production plans are back on schedule and budget

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Henry Sapiecha

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26..Base Metals

Dennis Washington

Sailing fanatic built his fortune the old-fashioned way
$5bn | 78 | Married | 2 Children | United States| ↑

Born in Spokane Washington, after an unhappy childhood in a broken home that included a bout with polio, he eventually settled down with his grandparents in Montana, the state he still calls home.

Got the start for Washington Co. construction from a $30,000 loan from a Caterpillar dealer and moved into mining with a copper and molybdenum mine in Butte, Montana, which he acquired in 1986 and shortly thereafter re-opened.

In contrast to the wild swings in many other billionaires’ fortunes Washington’s net worth has been steadily climbing and even the financial crisis of 2008 barely registered on his income statement.

A keen yacht-designer and sailor his Attessa IV is now worth more than $200m after a meticulous 40-month rebuild. Washington owns an island off the British Columbia coast.

Prospects: Good – his Butte mine, rail, heavy equipment and shipping companies are all chugging along nicely

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Henry Sapiecha

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27…Iron Ore & Steel

Alexander Abramov

Space researcher made the most of the rouble crisis
$4-5bn | 54 | Married | 3 Children | Russia | ↓

Most of the low-profile Moscovite’s money is held in Evraz plc, which he, Roman Abramovich and Alexander Frolov successfully listed in London in 2011, but which has taken a beating ever since.

Abramov, whose wealth peaked at $11.5 billion in 2008, wasn’t always a businessman; he started work at a Soviet defence and space research lab after graduating from the Moscow Institute of Physics before starting an Evraz-precursor in the Yeltsin era.

During the 1998 Russian financial crisis, bought up distressed steelmakers and coal assets at fire sale prices. Today Evraz holds vast greenfields projects in Siberia, operates iron and coal mines across Russia and Ukraine, including the region’s largest met coal producer Yuzhkuzbassugol and has extensive vanadium interests in South Africa and the US.

Prospects: Middling – his Evraz’s struggles are set to continue and like partner Abramovich he has to work hard keeping the Kremlin on side

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Henry Sapiecha

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28…Iron Ore & Steel

Victor Rashnikov

Silver fox keeps iron grip on his beloved home town steel mill
$4bn | 64 | Married | 2 Children | Russia | ↓

Product of Magnitogorsk’s Mining and Metallurgical Institute, he still resides in the city 1,800 kilometres east of Moscow, shunning fellow Russian oligarchs and their London mansions and Monaco yachts.

Ultimate small town boy made good, he started at Magnitogorskiy Metallurgicheskiy Kombinat, Russia largest steel mill, as a machine minder, worked his way up and then followed the familiar playbook of buying up workers and the state’s shares at basement prices.

An ice hockey fan who made the local team Metallurg, Russia finest, his big pay day came in 2007 when he took MMK public in London pocketing $1bn. Still owns bulk of MMK after fighting off a takeover by fellow metals man Iskander Makhmudov by buying stock on the open market and investing heavily in Twiggy’s FMG.

He’s been ploughing back the money building hospitals, a cathedral and ski resorts and staging the country’s biggest fireworks show in Magnitogorsk every July 18, the old Soviet Day of the Metallurgist.

Prospects: Dicey – fortune is entirely tied to MMK, down 80% since 2011 but could go lower still.

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Henry Sapiecha

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Andrei Guriev

More green from a growing phosphate fortune
$4bn | 53 | Married | 2 Children | Russia | ↑

Bank balance is based on his stake put at anywhere from 50% to 70% in Phosagro the globe’s number two phosphate producer which he listed in London in 2011.

A former communist leader, he’s been senator representing Murmansk since 2001 and could have been higher on the list, but plans to merge Fosagro with Silvnit, fell through and the latter was scooped up by Uralkali adding billions to the fortunes of Russia’s already rich potash potentates.

Cut his teeth working form Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and when the Yukos billionaire was sent to prison after falling out with the Putin government, Guriev led a management buyout of one of the group’s divisions Apatit which is now part of Phosagro.

Prospects: Good – raised $500m in secondary offer in London in April and the fertilizer market remains strong

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Henry Sapiecha

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Anil Agarwal

Oil helps to lubricate rough iron ore and aluminum business
$3-4bn | 59 | Married | 2 Children | India | ↑ ↓

Stock of his London-listed Vedanta Resources has held up better than most miners thanks to new finds by its Indian oil division run by brother Navin.

Quit school at age 15 and started out as a scrap metal trader in Mumbai in 1976. Today Vedanta boasts $14bn in annual revenues with assets that span the globe including copper in Zambia and Australia, zinc in Namibia and Ireland, and top iron ore company Sesa Goa and Hindustan Zinc in India.

Was affected by iron mining ban in Goa and had to shut aluminum refineries as plans to extract bauxite from what the local animist tribe says is the sacred mountain of Niyamgiri in the impoverished state of Orissa, are blocked.

Keen cyclist and vegetarian Agarwal who lives in London is a devotee of the Hindu god Krishna. Plans for a $1bn Vedanta University in Orissa went nowhere.

Prospect: Goodish – runs a tight ship and iron ore business improving while oil business should offset aluminum problems in India

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Henry Sapiecha

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