Hancock Prospecting

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Hancock Prospecting Pty Limited
Industry Mining
Predecessor Hancock Prospecting Limited
Hancock Resources
Hanwright Pty Limited
Hancock & Wright Limited
Founded 25 November 1955 (1955-11-25)
Founder Lang Hancock
Headquarters Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Number of locations
6 current projects (2012)
Key people
Gina Rinehart
(Executive Chairman (1992 – present)
Products Iron ore and thermal coal; and
Joint venture activities in ferruginous manganese, uranium, molybdenum, lead, zinc, gold, diamonds, and petroleum
Services Mineral resource exploration
Owner Gina Rinehart (76.6%)
Hope Margaret Hancock Trust (23.4%)[1]
Subsidiaries Hancock Coal Pty Limited
Hancock Alpha West Pty Limited
Website www.hancockprospecting.com.au

Hancock Prospecting is an Australian mineral exploration and extraction privately owned company that holds the rights to some of the largest land leases in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, containing the world's largest iron ore deposit. Established in 1955, the company is chaired by Gina Rinehart, estimated to be the wealthiest person in Australia, and the daughter of the company's founder, the late Lang Hancock.

It is owned by Gina Rinehart (76.6%) and the Hope Margaret Hancock Trust (23.4%).[2]


The Hancock Group of Companies are holders of 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. Leases in the Eastern Pilbara region contain mineable reserves of Marra Mamba ore of over 2 billion tonnes, and over 500 million tonnes of ferruginous manganese in their Nicholas Downs Project,[3] which is a joint venture with mining services company Mineral Resources Limited.[4][5][6]

In 2011, the company was estimated to be earning about A$870 million in revenue per year.[7] This is based on a 50% share of profits generated at the Hope Downs mine which is operated by Rio Tinto. Hope Downs production levels of 30 million tonnes per year and current prices (around US$140 per tonne) generate over A$2 billion in revenue, and about A$700 million in net cash. In addition, the company receives a 1.25% royalty from iron ore sales by Hamersley Iron (a Rio Tinto subsidiary) which delivers about A$170 million a year.

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.[8] 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.

At stages of its trading, the company has been known as Hancock Prospecting Ltd, Hancock Resources, Hanwright Pty Ltd, Hancock & Wright Ltd, and Hancock Prospecting Pty. Ltd.

Hope Margaret Hancock Trust[edit]

In 1988 Lang Hancock established the Hope Margaret Hancock Trust, nominating Rinehart as trustee, with his four grandchildren named as beneficiaries.[9] The Trust owns a quarter of the shares in Hancock Prospecting.[10] 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.[11] The action sought to remove Rinehart as sole trustee. Her brother, John, and sister, Bianca, were later revealed as parties to the dispute.[12][13][14]

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."[15] 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.[9][16] 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[17] and extended by the High Court of Australia until 9 March 2012. Rinehart's application for suppression was supported by Ginia Rinehart, but was opposed by Hope, John and Bianca.[18] 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.[19] 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.[20]

Rinehart stood down as trustee during the hearing in October 2013.[21] 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".[22] As of October 2013 it appeared likely that the matter would be settled by the court appointing a new trustee.[23]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hannah Low (May 13, 2014). "'Think very carefully': Gina Rinehart's daughter Hope Welker warned by lawyer". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  2. ^ Hannah Low (May 13, 2014). "'Think very carefully': Gina Rinehart's daughter Hope Welker warned by lawyer". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  3. ^ a b "Nicholas Downs". Current projects. Hancock Prospecting. 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  4. ^ "Hope Downs Iron Ore Project". Current projects. Hancock Prospecting. 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  5. ^ Ball, Yvonne (19 July 2002). "Hancock strikes it hot on Hope Downs iron ore". The Age (Australia). Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  6. ^ "Hope Downs mine development application submitted" (Press release). Rio Tinto. 16 March 2006. 
  7. ^ Thomson, James (7 February 2011). "Gina Rinehart's great resources rush". SmartCompany. Retrieved 2 February 2012. 
  8. ^ "Jacaranda Alliance". Current projects. Hancock Prospecting. 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Hall, Louise; Pennells, Steve (8 October 2011). "Rinehart's children win first round". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  10. ^ Amy Dale (13 March 2012). "Australia's richest woman Gina Rinehart accused of offering her eldest daughter money to drop legal action". Herald Sun. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ Pennells, Steve; Hall, Louise (10 September 2011). "Three siblings revealed in Rinehart court feud". The West Australian. Retrieved 10 September 2011. 
  13. ^ Pennells, Steve; Hall, Louise (9 September 2011). "Gina Rinehart sued by daughter". The West Australian. Retrieved 9 September 2011. 
  14. ^ Shanahan, Leo; Burrell, Andrew (9 September 2011). "Another family feud for Gina Rinehart". The Australian. AAP. Retrieved 9 September 2011. 
  15. ^ Shanahan, Leo (14 September 2011). "Rinehart gags media on family trust fund dispute". The Australian. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  16. ^ Madden, James (8 October 2011). "Gina Rinehart's children in bid to oust their mother". The Australian. Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  17. ^ Hall, Louise (14 January 2012). "Airing of dirty linen to come in three weeks". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 February 2012. 
  18. ^ 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. 
  19. ^ Robinson, Natasha (2 February 2012). "Gina Rinehart's safety 'at risk', court told in suppression bid". The Australian. Retrieved 2 February 2012. 
  20. ^ 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. 
  21. ^ Ferguson, Adele (12 October 2013). "Family feud over matters of trust". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  22. ^ Shanahan, Leo (2 October 2013). "Gina Rinehart exits bitter family row over trust". The Australian. Retrieved 1 October 2013. 
  23. ^ Shanahan, Leo (14 October 2013). "Family trust battle a 'kamikaze' mission, Gina Rinehart's lawyers say". The Australian. 
  24. ^ http://www.mineralresources.com.au/upload/docs/2008%20ASX%20Announcements/8%20Aug%2008%20-%20MRL%20Formalises%20Contract%20with%20Hancock%20Prospecting%20(110.86%20Kb).pdf