The Real Iron Lady

Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe (from Latin: ferrum) and atomic number 26.  It is the most common element (by mass) forming the planet Earth as a whole. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth’s crust.


And she owns a lot of that crust.  And rules it with an Iron Fist.

“These logistical Inspectors are earnest and attentive in their inspecting, to be certified as right and proper, all must go under their scrutiny, so no irregularities, discrepancies are let go by.” [Please Understand Me II]

Don’t mess with a no nonsense contender, they can possess an Iron Fist, it can lead to you being fired or a lawsuit, and they will persist, Gina is the ultimate logistical contender.

She is the Real Iron Lady,  down to earth, concrete and Real, first and foremost known as the Iron Lady of Australia.  And she could become the richest person in the world, if China keeps buying natural resources as they have been doing in the last decade.

Gina Rinehart

Georgina Hope “Gina” Rinehart, Inspector Guardian, (born 9 February 1954) is an Australian mining tycoon. She is the heiress of Hancock Prospecting and the daughter of the late Lang Hancock and Hope Margaret Nicholas. In the 2010s, Rinehart bought a stake in media organisations, becoming the largest shareholder in Fairfax Media and taking a significant share in the Ten Network Holdings. During 2011, both Forbes Asia and Business Review Weekly reported that Rinehart was Australia’s wealthiest person. In May 2012 BRW named her as the world’s richest woman, having surpassed Christy Walton.

In 2011, three of Rinehart’s children and beneficiaries, Hope Rinehart Welker, John Hancock and Bianca Rinehart, brought a legal action in the New South Wales Supreme Court over Rinehart’s (as sole trustee) alleged delay of the vesting date of the Hope Margaret Hancock Trust. [Wikipedia, revised]

As Ferguson’s book highlights, Gina’s love for her father often crossed into hero worship — he was, in her eyes at least, a truly visionary business leader who laid the groundwork for national prosperity.  {Note: He was probably a Promoter Artisan.} But while Rinehart has honoured her father in various ways — from statues to flowing tributes — she has recently bristled at suggestions her wealth is based on inheritance, pointing out that her father’s estate was bankrupt and Hancock Prospecting was left with crippling debts.


“His grooming, his education for my eventually taking over the responsibility of his interests began when I was about 12.”

“Does the prospect of taking over from him frighten me? Well it would if I hadn’t been prepared.

“Whatever I do, whatever I do, the House of Hancock comes first. Nothing will stand in the way of that. Nothing.

‘What makes Ferguson’s book important in understanding Rinehart’s winner-takes-all attitude is the details about Gina’s early years. Here is a child brought up to believe that it was her birth right to own an empire beyond anything Australia has ever seen. It’s Gina’s core, unshakable belief.  —- And she’ll do anything to protect it.’

Responsible to the core, Inspectors like it when people know their duties, follow the guidelines, and operate within the rules [her rules mostly]. For their part, Inspectors will see to it that goods are examined and schedules are kept, that resources will be up to standards and delivered when and where they are supposed to be. And they would prefer that everyone be this dependable. Inspectors can be hard-nosed about the need for following the rules in the workplace [her rules no doubt], and do not hesitate to report irregularities to the proper authorities [she being the ultimate authority]. Because of this they are often misjudged as being hard-hearted, or as having ice in their veins, for people fail to see their good intentions and their vulnerability to criticism.  [Please Understand Me II, annotated]

Trust her, she is a kind of Rock of Gibraltar, implacable and immovable in her stance.  A determined woman, down to earth.


…  the concerned and responsible SJ [Guardian], the Rock of Gibraltar standing watch over the established rules … [Please Understand Me II]

‘Gina studied economics at the University of Sydney, an experience that appears to have hardened her outsider status. She had little in common with fellow students, who devoured the fashionable theories of John Kenneth Galbraith, the left-leaning, ivory tower, tenured academic economist, described by her father as one of America’s “greatest fiction writers”. “I thought economics was about producing things,” Gina later complained. “When I found out they were teaching the wrong things, I quit.”’

She is right in her mind. Her headmistress remembers a young girl who knew her mind. “Gina won’t be overruled on things she thinks are right.”

She values loyalty, and rewards it, she has made verse for one of her loyal employees.

With the faith of St Barbara and the heart of a Lion,
Tad has made his mark exporting our
Western Australian iron,
He’s worked through great difficulties and earned
this Lady’s trust,
They say that when he touches steel it will never rust!

‘Rinehart is the sort of boss who inspires devotion in some and rebellion in others. “She treats her employees well but you don’t cross her: it’s ‘Yes, Mrs Rinehart’, ‘No, Mrs Rinehart’, ” says one who found the atmosphere so oppressive she eventually left.’

‘Another person, who insisted on calling her Gina (“I was older than her”) and now works for another resources group, says Rinehart’s management style did not sit well with some senior staff. “As an executive, you want to have a bit of autonomy and know you’ve got some areas where you can make decisions,” he says. “But she used to make all the major calls. And of course, if you end up disagreeing with her, ‘You’re outta here!’ ” He laughs. “Doesn’t take ‘no’ well.”‘

“What Lang brought to the table were prospecting skills,” says a senior figure in the Western Australian resources sector. “What she brought to the table were project development skills.” Though hardly the first to spot its potential, she was quick to grasp how China’s rapid growth would transform the iron ore business. More recently, she has targeted coal-hungry India. What is striking about the rise of Hancock Prospecting, according to industry insiders, is that its success has been achieved without taking major risks. Methodical and cautious, Rinehart is a not a buccaneering entrepreneur in the mould of her rival, Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest. Hancock Prospecting, for instance, tends to drill more holes during the preliminary exploration phase than other mining companies, to accumulate more data and thus diminish risk. In another sign of her watchfulness, she prefers partnerships with elite companies, like Rio Tinto and Posco, which again offer more security. “She has never done anything to jeopardise her fortune,” notes a former employee.

Given she is notoriously reticent to talk to media, or to discuss her philanthropic donations, it’s not easy to find out where she puts her charitable dollar.  Following the 1992 death of her father, Lang Hancock, Mrs Rinehart launched the Hancock Family Medical Foundation (HFMF), which is responsible for a range of charitable donations, but few specifics are readily available to the public.  “Like many wealthy families, Mrs Rinehart prefers to keep her philanthropic endeavours private.”  Rinehart is publicly known for visiting girls’ orphanages in Cambodia and is in the expert advisory group for the Hope Scholarship Award Program for girls run by SISHA, a Cambodian non-profit organisation campaigning against human trafficking.

What the family trust dispute reveals above all is her unbending determination to retain absolute control of Hancock Prospecting, and to pursue her single-minded vision for the company.  Money is really not the primary issue.   Rinehart feared that disclosure of the details of the case would jeopardise the development of her flagship project, the Roy Hill mine. Senior executives at Hancock Prospecting had expressed concern that investors might be “unsettled” by the family feud, with costly knock-on effects. The scheduled 2014 opening date for Roy Hill is already ambitious and any delay would have “extremely serious consequences”, in the words of her lawyer, Paul McCann, and “could be fatal”. Roy Hill would be her crowning achievement, the one project more than any other that would demonstrate irrefutably that Gina, not her father, had transformed Hancock Prospecting into a global mining giant. Roy Hill is her discovery flight, the moment that could seal her place in mining and national history. The quarrel with her children threatens to prevent it from getting airborne.

What no one questions is Rinehart’s work ethic. She reportedly employs two personal assistants, one to start early and the other for the late shift. “There is no downtime whatsoever for Gina Rinehart,” says Liberal MP Teresa Gambaro, one of three parliamentarians – along with Barnaby Joyce and deputy federal opposition leader Julie Bishop – to accompany Rinehart to the Hyderabad wedding of the granddaughter of GVK chairman G. V. Krishna Reddy. This was shortly before Rinehart and GVK finalised the Galilee Basin deal. “She was there to make sure the business was concluded,” says Gambaro, who came home impressed by Rinehart’s determination and exhausted by her conversation. “I haven’t met anyone else who can talk coal for nine hours.” … All the way to India?… “Pretty much.“‘

openquoteBeauty is an iron mine.closedquote — Gina Rinehart

5 thoughts on “The Real Iron Lady

  1. goodrumo December 5, 2012 / 1:54 pm

    In the investors I know, the Inspector Guardians are strongly represented, along with Arrangers, (Mastermind) Rationals. It is only a small group, but of that group the wealthiest, (as proportion) are overwhelmingly the Inspector Guardians. Like Buffett, like Rinehart they find the formula, minimise their risk and just build and build that wealth. I still fail to see how these incredibly brilliant business people translate into (in some minds) ‘therefore potential great Prime Ministers or Presidents’.


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