14 May 2013

Aussie rivals join to win £130m Rio Tinto battle

Two of Australia's richest and most influential women have teamed up to win a £130 million court ruling against British-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto.

By James Barnes

Rio Tinto lose out in mining showdown

The New South Wales Supreme Court ruled that a 1970 deal struck between a Rio Tinto subsidiary and fathers of Gina Rinehart and her Angela Bennett was still in force, meaning they were entitled to mining royalties.

Legal battle

The Daily Telegraph reports that the two women had separately battled over rights to the country’s most lucrative mine, Hope Downs – a remote area explored by their two deceased fathers, Lang Hancock and Peter Wright. Mrs Rinehart and Mrs Bennett have also conducted a 12-year legal battle over the ownership of another iron deposit, in Rhodes Ridge, Pilbara.

'Obliged to pay'

However the rivals came together to claim lost royalties regarding deposits across a 15,000-hectare region in north-west Australia operated by Mount Bruce Mining, a Rio Tinto subsidiary.
Justice Hammerschlag ruled that Mount Bruce Mining was ‘obliged to pay’ the descendants ‘the royalty under the 1970 agreement in respect of ore mined in Eastern Range and Channar’, according to the report.

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