Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting keeps profit above $5b despite weaker iron ore prices
Tue, 31 October 2023 7:00AM
Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting has delivered another mammoth profit as Australia’s richest person continues to diversify her interests beyond Hancock’s well-oiled iron ore cash machine.
Hancock delivered revenue of $13.2 billion for the 2023 financial year, down from $14.6b in the previous year, which Hancock said was due to weaker iron ore prices. This crystallised in a profit of $5b for the year ended June 30, compared to $5.8b in the prior corresponding period.
Hancock said it had maintained its place among Australia’s largest corporate taxpayers, with about $3.7b in total taxes paid during the year.
Last week Hancock’s crown jewel, the Roy Hill mine, unveiled record annual production of 63.3 million tonnes for FY2023. Hancock is upgrading key infrastructure at Roy Hill — including an expansion to its autonomous haulage fleet — to keep production above 60mtpa, as the mine approaches the end of its life over the next decade.
At the Rio Tinto-operated Hope Downs mine, studies for the development of the Hope 2 and Bedded Hilltop deposits and the extension of Hope 4 are under way. Hancock has a 50 per cent stake in Hope Downs.
Atlas Iron shipped 8.9mt of iron ore from its Mt Webber, Sanjiv Ridge and Miralga mines to produce a net profit of $401m. Atlas also paid its first dividend of $225m in December last year.
Beyond iron ore, Mrs Rinehart has been busy expanding the breadth of her empire in 2023.
In February, Hancock snared Warrego Energy for $440m, securing exposure to WA gas assets and the potential for future low-cost gas at Hancock’s iron ore operations. This followed Hancock’s $900m takeover of Senex Energy in hand with South Korean giant POSCO last year.
Following its entry into the energy sector, Hancock has been on a spending spree over the past couple of months in the lithium and battery metals space, acquiring “strategic stakes” of 19.9 per cent in Liontown Resources and 18.3 per cent in Azure Minerals.
It has outlaid around $1.5b in building its holdings across Liontown and Azure.
Hancock said it also remains committed to “increasing its investment in the agricultural sector”. For FY2023 its subsidiary — Australian Outback Beef Pty Ltd — delivered a net profit of $84.8m, underpinned by the divestment of four properties.
Hancock said the proceeds from the four sales were being re-invested in “high quality properties as opportunities of value are identified”.
After Mrs Rinehart launched multiple scathing attacks at regulatory red tape last week, Hancock reiterated that sentiment on Tuesday.
“Approval timeframes and red tape have increased significantly over the recent years,” it said in a statement.
“The current policy environment, duplication of processes, overreach from all departments and delays to approvals is negatively impacting new investment into the mining industry and is reducing Australia’s competitiveness in the international resource sector.
“The US, Canada and Europe, which have higher cost environments than developing economies, are providing significant support for resource development, in particular downstream processing for future metals.
“Australia can and needs to do much more to reduce regulatory burdens and make investment welcome and development easier for its essential resources and related industries.”