Rinehart Ordered by Court to Transfer Iron Ore Stake To Wright

Apr 30, 2014 12:21 am ET

April 30 (Bloomberg) -- Billionaire miner Gina Rinehart has been ordered by a court to start the transfer of a stake in one of Australia’s most valuable iron ore deposits to a company founded by her father’s former partner.

The Supreme Court of Western Australia today enforced an earlier decision ordering Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting Pty to transfer ownership to Wright Prospecting Pty, according to court documents.

In September, the High Court of Australia rejected a request for a hearing from Hancock into the ownership of the 25 percent stake in the Rhodes Ridge Property. Hancock, Australia’s richest woman, had sought to overturn a Supreme Court of Western Australia decision awarding the stake to Wright Prospecting, giving it 50 percent.

The dispute over the property between the heirs of Lang Hancock and Peter Wright has run for 12 years. Rhodes Ridge is one of the richest undeveloped iron ore deposits in the world and Rio Tinto Group owns half of the property.

Lang Hancock and Peter Wright, whose lifelong friendship and business relationship appeared to be deteriorating by the early 1980s, according to court records, initially agreed in 1983 to carve up some of their properties, with each having the option of taking full control of their portion.

Wright Prospecting’s focus has been to enforce and protect its rights to 50 percent of the venture, the company said in an e-mailed statement. It’s pleased that today’s order now enforces and implements the previous decisions, it said.