"The Miner's Daughter"

"Gina Rinehart is Australia’s richest—and most controversial—billionaire."

"Australia, thanks largely to the economic rise of China, has been in the throes of a mining boom. The “lucky country,” as it is called, has enormous deposits of the high-grade iron ore required by the steel mills of Asia. In Western Australia, where most of the iron ore resides, the boom has created unprecedented prosperity, along with a small tribe of billionaires. Georgina (Gina) Hope Rinehart, who owns a company called Hancock Prospecting and has recently been buying up Australian media properties, is the best known of these new tycoons. According to BRW, a weekly business magazine, Gina Rinehart became the richest woman in Australia in 2010, the richest person in Australia in 2011, and the richest woman in the world in 2012, with an estimated net worth of nearly thirty billion dollars. Rinehart, who lives in Perth—the state capital of Western Australia—is fifty-eight, a widow, and a mother of four. She shuns the press and rarely appears in public. She is sensitive, however, to the media treatment she receives, which is voluminous—she qualifies, by sheer quantity of ink, airtime, Web sites, pop songs, and pub conversation devoted to her, as a national obsession—and often rough. Two things seem to hurt her particularly: the stock news description of her as an heiress, and perceived failures of the press to acknowledge the achievements of her late father, Lang Hancock, whom she adored (when they were not feuding) with a rare intensity."

William Finnegan reports for the New Yorker March 25, 2013.

Source: New Yorker, 03/20/2013