Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd is a leading Australian owned mining and agricultural business run by Executive Chairman Gina Rinehart and CEO Garry Korte. At stages of its trading, the company has been known as Hancock Prospecting Ltd, Hancock Resources Ltd, Hanwright Pty Ltd, Hancock & Wright Ltd, and Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd.

Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd
Company typePrivate
IndustryMining and Agriculture
PredecessorHancock Prospecting Limited
Hancock Resources
Hanwright Pty Limited
Hancock & Wright Limited
Founded25 November 1955 (1955-11-25)
FounderLang Hancock
Number of locations
Multiple projects in Australia and in the UK
Key people
Gina Rinehart
(Executive Chairman)
ProductsIron ore and thermal coal; and
Joint venture activities in ferruginous manganese, uranium, molybdenum, lead, zinc, gold, diamonds, and petroleum
Revenue$16.6 billion (2021)[1]
$7.3 billion (2021)[2]
OwnerGina Rinehart
Hope Margaret Hancock Trust[3]
SubsidiariesHancock Coal Pty Limited
Hancock Alpha West Pty Limited

Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd is owned by Rinehart (76.6%) and the Hope Margaret Hancock Trust (23.4%).[3]

The company was founded in 1955 by Rinehart's father, the late Lang Hancock. Hancock Prospecting holds the mineral rights to some of the largest Crown land leases in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Gina Rinehart has disputed accusations that she is an heiress. Through Rinehart's spokesperson and chief financial officer at Hancock Prospecting, Jay Newby, Rinehart has claimed that upon assuming the Executive Chairmanship, she took over a company that was in a perilous financial position with significant debt and major assets mortgages and under threat of seizure.[4]



The history of Hancock Prospecting dates from the late 1930s when Hancock and Peter Wright, a former schoolmate, formed a partnership, named Hanwright.[5] One of the partnership's early ventures was an asbestos mine at Wittenoom, Western Australia.[6] Hanwright and Rio Tinto reached agreement in the 1960s, where Hanwright secured 2.5 percent share in all iron ore sold from its Pilbara discoveries.[5]

The Hancock Group of Companies holds numerous iron ore leases in the Pilbara. The leases cover an area of 500 square kilometres (190 sq mi) predominantly in the Central Pilbara region and contain mineable reserves of Brockman and Marra Mamba ore of over 850 million tonnes (940×10^6 short tons). Leases in the Eastern Pilbara region contain mineable reserves of Marra Mamba ore of over 2 billion tonnes (2.2×10^9 short tons), and over 500 million tonnes (550×10^6 short tons) of ferruginous manganese in their Nicholas Downs Project,[7] which is a joint venture with mining services company Mineral Resources Limited.[8][9][10]

In 2011, the company was estimated to earn about A$870 million in revenue per year;[11] based on a 50% share of profits generated at the Hope Downs mine, operated by Rio Tinto. Hope Downs production levels of 30 million tonnes (33×10^6 short tons) per year and at 2011 prices (around US$140 per tonne) generated over A$2 billion in revenue, and about A$700 million in net cash.[citation needed] In addition, the company received a 1.25% royalty from iron ore sales by Hamersley Iron (a Rio Tinto subsidiary) which delivered approximately A$170 million a year.[citation needed]

Hancock Prospecting exploration activities are done under the Jacaranda Alliance, a joint venture between Hancock, Minerals Australia Pty Ltd, and several former executives of Rio Tinto.[12] Exploration and evaluation work on uranium, molybdenum, lead, zinc, gold, diamonds and petroleum deposits are conducted in Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and South East Asia.

As of 2016, Hancock Prospecting diversified its interests into the cattle industry, acquiring 67% of S. Kidman & Co.[13]

In 2023, descendants of Peter Wright, via Wright Prospecting, commenced civil legal action against Hancock Prospecting in the WA Supreme Court. Wright Prospecting claimed that the agreement between Hancock and Wright included a division of certain Hanwright assets, assigning some to Wright Prospecting and others to Hancock Prospecting. Wright Prospecting sought its half of the partnership's 2.5 percent in royalties — or 1.25 percent of all profits made, likely worth several hundred million dollars. Wright Prospecting also argued that Hope Downs 4, 5 and 6 was a shared Hanwright asset — worth billions of dollars.[5]

Institute of Public Affairs


Hancock Prospecting significantly funds the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), paying the IPA $2.3 million in financial year 2016 and $2.2 million in financial year 2017,[14] which represents one-third to a half of the IPA's total revenue in those years.[15] These payments were not disclosed in IPA annual reports,[16] and Rinehart's daughter Bianca Hope Hayward submitted in court that the Hancock Prospecting payments were credited to Rinehart in an individual capacity.[14] Gina Rinehart was made a life member of the IPA in November 2016.[17]

Attitudes towards indigenous peoples


Perhaps the most well known controversy in the history of the company centres around the racist views of founder Lang Hancock towards Indigenous Australians. Hancock is quoted as saying,[18]

"Mining in Australia occupies less than one-fifth of one percent of the total surface of our continent and yet it supports 14 million people. Nothing should be sacred from mining whether it's your ground, my ground, the blackfellow's ground or anybody else's. So the question of Aboriginal land rights and things of this nature shouldn’t exist."

In a 1984 television interview,[19] Hancock suggested forcing unemployed indigenous Australians − specifically "the ones that are no good to themselves and who can't accept things, the half-castes" − to collect their welfare cheques from a central location. And when they had gravitated there, I would dope the water up so that they were sterile and would breed themselves out in the future, and that would solve the problem."

Executive Chairman of Hancock Prospecting, Gina Rinehart, caused controversy in 2022, when she failed to apologise for or denounce comments made by her late father in the 1984 television interview.[20] Hancock Prospecting subsequently withdrew an A$15 million sponsorship from Netball Australia after Indigenous netballer Donnell Wallam voiced concerns about the deal and the impact of the comments, pertaining to a genocide, by "poisoning" and "sterilising" Indigenous Australians to "solve the problem"; as well as concerns about the company's environmental record.[21][22][23][24][25][26][27]

Hope Margaret Hancock Trust


In 1988 Lang Hancock established the Hope Margaret Hancock Trust, nominating Rinehart as trustee, with his four grandchildren named as beneficiaries.[28] The Trust owns a quarter of the shares in Hancock Prospecting.[29] In 2011 Rinehart's daughter, Hope Rinehart Welker, commenced a commercial action in the New South Wales Supreme Court for reasons understood to be related to the conduct of the trustee.[30] The action sought to remove Rinehart as sole trustee. Her brother, John, and sister, Bianca, were later revealed as parties to the dispute.[31][32][33]

In an agreement reached between the parties, the Court granted an interim non-publication order in September 2011. In making the interim order, Justice Paul Brereton stated: "This is not the first occasion of discord in the family, which has immense wealth, no small part of which resides in the trust. In the past, the affairs of the family, including such discord, has attracted considerable publicity in the media."[34] Then, in a judgement handed down on 7 October 2011, Justice Brereton stated that he intended to dismiss an application by Rinehart, that there be a stay on court action, and that the family be directed into mediation.[28][35] In December 2011, three justices of the NSW Court of Appeal lifted the suppression orders on the case. However, a stay was granted until 3 February 2012[36] and extended by the High Court of Australia until 9 March 2012. Rinehart's application for suppression was supported by Ginia Rinehart (Gina Rinehart's daughter), but was opposed by Hope, John and Bianca.[37] A subsequent application by Rinehart for a non-publication order on the grounds of fear of personal and family safety was dismissed by the NSW Supreme Court on 2 February 2012.[38] In March 2012, when the suppression order was lifted, it was revealed that Rinehart had delayed the vesting date of the trust, which had prompted the court action by her three older children.[39]

Rinehart stood down as trustee during the hearing in October 2013.[40] While Rinehart's lawyers subsequently declared any legal matters closed, John and Bianca's legal representatives proceeded with a trial in the NSW Supreme Court to deal with allegations of misconduct, whereby Rinehart was accused of having "unclean hands".[41] As of October 2013 it appeared likely that the matter would be settled by the court appointing a new trustee.[42]



See also



  1. ^ "Hancock Prospecting returns $5.8b profit for Rinehart". 30 November 2022.
  2. ^ "Gina Rinehart miner nets massive $7.3b profit off bumper year for iron". 26 November 2021.
  3. ^ a b Hannah Low (13 May 2014). "'Think very carefully': Gina Rinehart's daughter Hope Welker warned by lawyer". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  4. ^ Waters, Cara (9 March 2015). "I'm no heiress: Gina Rinehart complains about SmartCompany's top female entrepreneurs list". SmartCompany. Private Media Pty Ltd. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  5. ^ a b c "Australian mining magnate gears up for legal fight to protect iron ore royalties". RNZ. New Zealand. ABC News. 23 July 2023. Retrieved 30 July 2023.
  6. ^ McIlraith, John (2012). "Wright, Ernest Archibald Maynard (Peter) (1908–1985)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Vol. 18. Australian National University. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Nicholas Downs". Current projects. Hancock Prospecting. 2012. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  8. ^ "Hope Downs Iron Ore Project". Current projects. Hancock Prospecting. 2012. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  9. ^ Ball, Yvonne (19 July 2002). "Hancock strikes it hot on Hope Downs iron ore". The Age. Australia. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  10. ^ "Hope Downs mine development application submitted" (Press release). Rio Tinto. 16 March 2006. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011.
  11. ^ Thomson, James (7 February 2011). "Gina Rinehart's great resources rush". SmartCompany. Archived from the original on 17 April 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  12. ^ "Jacaranda Alliance". Current projects. Hancock Prospecting. 2012. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  13. ^ "Morrison approves Rinehart's cattle empire purchase". ABC News. 9 December 2016. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  14. ^ a b "Rinehart v Rinehart - NSW Caselaw". www.caselaw.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  15. ^ "Billionaire Mining Magnate Gina Rinehart Revealed As Key Donor to Australian Climate Science Denial Promoter Institute of Public Affairs". DeSmogBlog. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  16. ^ "Bid to involve Barnaby Joyce an attempt to embarrass former deputy PM, says magnate (subscription required)". Sydney: dailytelgraph.com.au. 6 July 2018. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  17. ^ Rinehart, Gina. "Mrs. Rinehart made an Honorary Life Member of the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA)". Gina Rinehart.
  18. ^ Coyne, Michael; Edwards, Leigh (1990). The Oz Factor: Who's Doing What in Australia. East Malvern. p. 68. doi:10.22459/BWWP.03.2004. ISBN 9780975122952.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  19. ^ Moreton, Romaine, ed. (n.d.). "Couldn't Be Fairer (1984)". Australian Screen Online. National Film and Sound Archive. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  20. ^ Turnbull, Tiffanie (21 October 2022). "The racism row engulfing Australian netball". BBC News. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  21. ^ "Netball Australia chair goes amid mining sponsorship standoff with players". SBS. NITV. 17 October 2022. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  22. ^ Carter, Brittany (18 October 2022). "How do former Indigenous Diamonds feel about the Hancock Prospecting partnership?". ABC News. Australia: Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  23. ^ Hytner, Mike (18 October 2022). "Netball Australia stands by Hancock Prospecting sponsorship despite player backlash". Guardian Australia. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  24. ^ Woods, Mellisa (18 October 2022). "Netball Australia commits to mining sponsor, but Diamonds won't wear logo". Sydney Morning Herald. Nine Network. AAP. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  25. ^ Muroi, Millie (22 October 2022). "Hancock Prospecting pulls $15m netball sponsorship". Sydney Morning Herald. Nine Network. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  26. ^ Knaus, Christopher (22 October 2022). "Hancock Prospecting withdraws from $15m funding deal with Netball Australia after players revolt". Guardian Australia. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  27. ^ "Hancock Prospecting announces it is pulling funding from Netball Australia". ABC News. Australia: Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 22 October 2022. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  28. ^ a b Hall, Louise; Pennells, Steve (8 October 2011). "Rinehart's children win first round". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  29. ^ Amy Dale (13 March 2012). "Australia's richest woman Gina Rinehart accused of offering her eldest daughter money to drop legal action". Herald Sun.
  30. ^ Dale, Amy (13 March 2012). "Australia's richest woman Gina Rinehart accused of offering her eldest daughter money to drop legal action". Herald Sun. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  31. ^ Pennells, Steve; Hall, Louise (10 September 2011). "Three siblings revealed in Rinehart court feud". The West Australian. Archived from the original on 30 September 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
  32. ^ Pennells, Steve; Hall, Louise (9 September 2011). "Gina Rinehart sued by daughter". The West Australian. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
  33. ^ Shanahan, Leo; Burrell, Andrew (9 September 2011). "Another family feud for Gina Rinehart". The Australian. Australian Associated Press. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
  34. ^ Shanahan, Leo (14 September 2011). "Rinehart gags media on family trust fund dispute". The Australian. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  35. ^ Madden, James (8 October 2011). "Gina Rinehart's children in bid to oust their mother". The Australian. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  36. ^ Hall, Louise (14 January 2012). "Airing of dirty linen to come in three weeks". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  37. ^ Hall, Louise (2 February 2012). "Family feud details to stay secret for at least five more weeks". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  38. ^ Robinson, Natasha (2 February 2012). "Gina Rinehart's safety 'at risk', court told in suppression bid". The Australian. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
  39. ^ Dale, Amy (13 March 2012). "Days away from being billionaires, Gina Rinehart locks trust for half a century". The Daily Telegraph. Australia. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  40. ^ Ferguson, Adele (12 October 2013). "Family feud over matters of trust". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  41. ^ Shanahan, Leo (2 October 2013). "Gina Rinehart exits bitter family row over trust". The Australian. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  42. ^ Shanahan, Leo (14 October 2013). "Family trust battle a 'kamikaze' mission, Gina Rinehart's lawyers say". The Australian.
  43. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)