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Article – On the road with Gina Rinehart under the vast NT sky

by 31 May 2017

27 May 2017
Sarah-Jane Tasker
The Australian

Gina Rinehart is covered in red dust — it’s filling her eyes and stubbornly settling on her face — as she inspects cattle at her top Northern Territory station, and despite the sun sitting high in the sky and a strong wind blowing desert dirt all over the Australian billionaire, she is smiling. Rinehart is fresh from a recent Kidman board meeting in Shanghai, with promises of further investment in new farming technologies, when The Weekend Australian joined her this week for a tour of Helen Springs station, the prized property in the Kidman portfolio.

Her passion for the land, born from a childhood spent on remote stations in the north of Western Australia, is on display as she plays tour guide of the remote property, about 140km north of Tennant Creek.

The softly-spoken Rinehart is in good spirits the night before touring the station, laughing with staff about an “in-joke” they all share and freely telling stories of recent travel. She is relaxed and excited about the potential to build on her cattle plans.

Helen Springs, the jewel in the crown of the Kidman properties, is a picture-perfect location for Rinehart to share her vision for her cattle empire. The homestead is an oasis in the desert, with a sprawling garden, filled with a variety of fruit trees — lemon, grapefruit and coconut palms — and pink roses in bloom.

Viewing the vast station from the air on the day of the tour, Rinehart’s sharp eye is scanning the land from the helicopter window, as she points out to the station manager she wants to see more shade for the animals. It soon becomes apparent the billionaire is a soft touch when it comes to the animals and is determined to ensure they have appropriate shade at watering holes and stockyards. “We want to shade the stockyards because we want to, not because we have to,” she says.

Rinehart is across every detail about the station and her wider cattle interests and she is confident the changes they are set to implement will lead the industry.

The country’s new “cattle queen” has ambitious plans to roll out state-of-the-art technology across the Kidman portfolio.

Australia’s third-richest person, with an estimated wealth of $10.41 billion, purchased the country’s largest pastoral portfolio, S. Kidman & Co, with Chinese joint venture partner Shanghai CRED, late last year. Her company, Hancock Prospecting, is the majority owner with a 67 per cent stake in the cattle company.

The $386.5m Kidman acquisition added 10 cattle stations, making up about 1.3 per cent of Australia’s total land area, to ­Rinehart’s agricultural portfolio. Following that acquisition Hancock became one of the top three beef producers in the country with a herd of about 300,000 cattle and it sells about 150,000 head a year.

Rinehart says her Chinese partners backed her early plan to forgo profits in the initial stages and leave the money in Australia to reinvest in the business.

“Every time we have presented a budget to our partners they have said yes,” she says. “They understand our desire to invest in, and improve, the properties.

“They are so proud to be part of an iconic company … it’s not just Australians who know about this deal, it’s also talked about in China. There is a responsibility and duty on the Chinese partners to show this joint venture can perform — China is watching.”

The board has already approved tens of millions of dollars in investment in its first two board meetings. Rinehart recalls that she was slightly nervous ahead of the first board meeting in February, knowing she was about to ask the Chinese to forgo early profits.

“Here we are saying you’ve just paid a fortune to get into these properties but by the way we don’t want you to take any profit, so I thought it might be a difficult board meeting and was a little nervous,” she says.

“By the time we got to the second meeting, we were asking for more budget approvals but he (Shanghai CRED principal Gui Guojie) is so supportive.”

The Weekend Australian understands that the board has approved a strategy to increase boxed beef and develop a branded product for the Kidman properties, with both a grain-fed and a grass-fed variety. That plan will expand the volume of boxed beef the company processes in South Australia and potentially Queensland.

Rinehart didn’t comment on reports that Hancock is preparing to sign a deal to export live cattle to China but the company is believed to be looking to eventually increase its live cattle exports after it increases its boxed beef product.

The plan to increase the herd is being supported by innovative technologies to be introduced to the Kidman properties.

Helen Springs, which sprawls over 5000sq km in the Barkly Tablelands, is top of the list to benefit from the new investment, and Rinehart wants to see the improvements rolled out progressively.

The station has an average carrying capacity of 24,000 to 26,000 head of cattle but a major water infrastructure program is planned, which will add another 9000 to the herd.

“While we have inadequate watering holes we are not properly using our paddocks,” Rinehart says.

“Cattle don’t like to walk too long to access water and paddocks are being under-used.”

Solar panels at windmills are also being introduced, a feature Rinehart says improves safety for staff and supports the environment.

The West Australian, whose company claims to be the country’s largest private taxpayer, having paid more than $3bn in taxes since 2011, says that more than 60 years ago her father, Lang Hancock, was using solar panels on his stations and had also introduced aerial mustering. She says he would be supportive of the new technologies and would be an early adopter.

Talking fondly of her father, Rinehart recalls her days as a child on her family stations and helping her dad when he was fixing the windmills. She says it was her role to lay out the tools and bring him the correct one when he yelled for it, climbing up and down the steep ladder each time.

Part of a muster at Helen Springs cattle stationPHOTO – Part of a muster at Helen Springs cattle station

Rinehart is also keen for the Kidman station managers to have access to helicopters. She overturned a previous Kidman rule that station managers couldn’t get a pilot’s licence and is actively encouraging managers who want to get a licence. Board approval has been given to pay for training and supply the helicopters.

“There was a policy in Kidman that managers weren’t allowed to fly, which was one of the first things we changed,” she says.

“We believe it gives managers a greater opportunity to know their station — they have to make so many decisions, it’s best they know their stations.”

The use of drones is another initiative Rinehart is excited about, having successfully trialled the program on a Hancock station in the Kimberley.

Chris Morrow, station manager at the Kimberley property, was flown to Shanghai recently to present the drone trial to the Kidman board.

He explains that one of the drones used has a wingspan of 2.5m and can be used to a radius of 40km, at a speed of 60km/h, with a carrying capacity of 4kg.

“The board were excited and my young team are also excited about new technology and what we can use the drones for,” he tells The Weekend Australian.

“It will make our operation more efficient than spending all day looking at things — we can send a drone out first and then target jobs.” Rinehart says that at the recent board meeting, Gui was rushing her through as he had another meeting to attend, but he was happy to slow it down when it came to the drones.

“He rushed us through the finances in record time but for the drone presentation I wasn’t getting told to hurry up,” she says.

“When it was time for Chris to give the presentation, Mr Gui was really animated.”

The young staff at Helen Springs are also excited about the possibilities technology will bring. The night Rinehart was arriving, the station staff shared with The Weekend Australian stories of their experience on the property with clear excitement about what the future holds.

As one station hand says: “Helen Springs is the station you want to work on, it’s one of the best.”

Peter Raleigh, the station manager at the neighbouring Bunchilly station, has a predominantly young staff, who he says are supportive of innovative technology and crave the changes coming through the industry.

“It’s exciting times for the company and as an industry as a whole. It’s a good time to be part of it all.”

PHOTO – Gina Rinehart at her Helen Springs cattle station.

Courtesy of The Australian

Article – Opportunity awaits in India, says Malcolm Turnbull

by 22 May 2017

7 April 2017
Geoff Chambers
The Australian

Malcolm Turnbull has described India as a “land of immense opportunity for Australia”, ahead of his first visit to the subcontinent powerhouse next week.

In a speech to the Sydney ­Institute last night, the Prime ­Minister outlined the importance of Australia’s ties with India, a day after billionaire Gina Rinehart warned the federal government to follow the economic lead of ­Narendra Modi.

“Alongside China, India is a land of immense opportunity for Australia,” Mr Turnbull said.

“Next week I will visit India, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and I will follow on from our successful meeting at the G20 summit last year.

“India is undergoing a dramatic economic transformation and our close partnership creates opportunities for both nations.”

Speaking at a resources conference in New Delhi on Wednesday night, Mrs Rinehart said Australia needed to take decisive steps to “make doing business in Australia easier”.

Mr Turnbull said with an annual growth rate of more than 7 per cent, the Indian economy could be as large as that of the US by 2050.

“Our two-way trade is worth almost­ $20 billion per year, a figure that has nearly doubled in the last decade,” the Prime Minister said.

“And our total trade in services has more than tripled over the same period from $1.3bn to $4.4bn.”

With Indian mining giant Adani maintaining its commitment to the proposed $16.5bn Carmichael­ coalmine project in central Queensland, Mr Turnbull said his government was dedicated to ensuring “opportunities” across multiple industries.

Mr Turnbull and his delegation will target co-operation across a “wide range of sectors including energy, education and trade”.

The Prime Minister, who flies to Papua New Guinea this afternoon for a brief trip before travelling to India on Sunday, is expected to meet with Adani boss Gautam Adani, who has discussed his planned project with various Australian federal, state and local politicians.

“India wants to provide energy security through a range of technologies, including nuclear, clean coal, natural gas and renewable energy,’’ he said.

“Australia is well placed to provide­ many of the raw materials, and some of the latest tech­nology. The Indian government is also aiming to train 400 million people by 2022 — we can help them achieve this goal, both here and in India.”

Education Minister Simon ­Birmingham will travel with Mr Turnbull to promote Australian education providers.

“Education is already our ­second largest export to India, worth $2.3bn in 2015-16.

“India now represents the second­-highest source of inter­national students to Australia, with more than 60,000 in 2016. Australia is the second-most popular destination for Indian stud­ents after the US.”

Mrs Rinehart has warned the Turnbull government it must reboot­ falling investment in ­Australia, by following the leads of Mr Modi and US President Donald Trump.

“I keep reminding our governments that Australia needs to learn from the Indian leadership and now President Trump’s economic leadership also, by taking decisiv­e steps to make doing business in high-cost Australia easier, and rolling out the red carpet for investors,” she said.

Courtesy of the Australian

Article – Gina Rinehart to export cattle to China

by 15 May 2017

6 May 2017
Craig Dunlop
NT News

THE Territory’s largest landholder, and emerging cattle baroness, Gina Rinehart, has reportedly been spruiking long-term plans to develop the live export market into Asia, with proposals to ship 800,000 cattle to China a year.

The plan, if successful, would see China leapfrog Indonesia as the most significant export destination for Australia’s live cattle trade and could present a further boon for the Northern Territory.

Cattle industry publication Beef Central reports the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland governments were handed briefs on Ms Rinehart’s plans last week, the details of which remain confidential.

Former chief minister turned Hancock Prospecting manager Adam Giles said the company’s plans were in the early stages and likely years away from fruition.

“If an agreement is formed, it will take possibly several years before first exports were to take place,” Mr Giles said.

Mr Giles said agreements would have to be struck with pastoralists to supply unprecedented numbers of cattle and said major construction projects would have to take place as part of the project.

“Mrs Rinehart continues to look for opportunities that will see investment in Northern Australia and the creation of Australian jobs,” Mr Giles said.

Mrs Rinehart’s Chinese partner in the S. Kidman & Co. buyout, Gui Guojie, in February sent a live cattle shipment to China from Portland, Victoria, prompting suggestions the S. Kidman & Co. empire would become geared towards supplying the Chinese market.

Chinese restrictions on importing cattle from areas affected by blue-tongue virus — including the Top End — have long been a sticking point for would-be exporters.

But industry players other than Mrs Rinehart, including export giant Wellard, have expressed optimism over developing the Chinese market, particularly in feeder cattle.

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Courtesy of NT News

Video – Gina Rinehart’s speech to the Global Food Forum

by 10 May 2017

Video – Gina Rinehart’s speech to the Sino-Australasian Entrepreneurs Summit (SAES)

by 10 May 2017

Articles on Gina Rinehart, Australia’s Cattle Queen

by 6 March 2017

4 March 2017

Australia’s richest woman Gina Rinehart is controversial, tough and very private. In a rare insight, the nation’s new cattle queen tells SA Weekend how she’s expanding her empire from mines to vast cattle stations as she builds on Sir Sidney Kidman’s legacy.

To read this and other articles on Gina Rinehart’s plans for her new cattle empire, plus her views on government regulation of investment and big business, click here.

Article – Gina Rinehart brings Nine Network to heel over ‘fictionalised’ series

by 6 March 2017

25 February 2017
Stephen Brook
The Australian

The Nine Network’s House of Hancock mini-series will never be seen again after billionaire Gina Rinehart extracted an apology from the broadcaster.

Nine and production company Cordell Jigsaw have agreed that the mini-series, a dramatisation about the life of mining magnate Lang Hancock and his family, including his daughter Gina, will not be sold to streaming channels, foreign markets or released again on DVD.

As well, the program-makers issued an unreserved apology.

The mining magnate took legal action for defamation against Nine and Cordell Jigsaw after the two-part mini-series screened in February 2015. The program, starring Sam Neil as Lang Hancock and Mandy Mc­Elhinney as Mrs Rinehart, ­attracted more than 1.3 million viewers in metro markets.

The program-makers yesterday released a statement admitting that certain scenes in the program “were fictionalised for dramatic purposes”.

“Nine and Cordell Jigsaw accept Mrs Rinehart found the broadcast to be inaccurate. That was certainly not the intention of Nine or Cordell Jigsaw, and each unreservedly apologises to Mrs Rinehart and her family for any hurt or offence caused by the broadcast and its promotion,” the two parties said in a statement.

“Nine and Cordell Jigsaw accept Mrs Rinehart had a very loving and close relationship with her mother, father and husband, and has with Hope and Ginia.

“They also acknowledge the significant contribution that Mrs Rinehart has made to Australia through her years of hard work and dedication and by her investment in this country, to its industry, economy and to the employ­ment of Australians and by her longstanding support of elite sport and numerous worthwhile charities.”

Mrs Rinehart said the case was “never about the money” and called on politicians to instigate legal reform to protect people in the public eye from “unfair media conduct”.

“Mrs Rinehart and others who truly knew the Hancock family and Mrs Rinehart, were dis­appointed such an inaccurate and distorted mini-series against their family (and) family members who greatly contributed to our country was aired by Channel Nine, which did not depict the actual people, and is pleased she has received a public apology.

“This case was not about money. It was about Mrs Rinehart standing up for her deeply loved family members to try to stop the further spreading of unfair and grossly disgraceful falsehoods about her family, especially when certain of her family members are no longer here able to defend themselves,” Mrs Rinehart said in a statement. “This matter was not just about the fundamental right of Mrs Rinehart and her family not to have lies and misrepresentations spread publicly about them — Mrs Rinehart hopes this will lead to the greater protection of others from such unfair conduct by the media and lead our politicians to activate long overdue reform in this area.”

In February 2015, Mrs Rinehart took Nine to court before the second episode screened and forced it to broadcast a line at the start referring to the program as “fictionalised” drama.

Courtesy of The Australian

Article – Kidman head office welcomes first visit from new Chairman Mrs. Rinehart

by 6 March 2017

Today I was very delighted to receive a very warm welcome from the Kidman staff on my staffs and my  first visit to the Kidman Headquarters in Adelaide.

I am delighted on behalf of not only our company group, but also my mother, who was very proud of her father, James Nicholas a long term friend and business partner of Sidney Kidman.

As the new Chairman of S. Kidman and Co, following many Kidman chairs over the 117 years of Kidman,  I received an executive briefing, and tour, and was presented with an iconic Kidman branding iron, which was explained by the Kidman managing director, Greg Campbell, was the historic symbol of the handing over of Kidman. My staff and I then joined in the Annual Kidman Christmas celebrations, where many happy Kidman Christmas wishes were given.

My staff and I look forward to working with the team in Adelaide and the managers on the stations to understand their ideas to build and improve the Kidman business.

I’m especially looking forward, weather permitting, to my first visit to the Kidman stations, in January.

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Media Release from Hancock Prospecting, 22nd December 2016.

Article – Rinehart’s Roy Hill mine digs deep into the data

by 2 March 2017

8 February 2017
George Nott
CIO

Relatively speaking, the neighbourhood around the Roy Hill mine in the Pilbara region of Western Australia is getting crowded.

Walk 90 kilometres in a straight line from Roy Hill, which you’d have to be very brave to attempt given the conditions here, and you’ll reach BHP’s Yandi mine.

Next door, just an hour’s drive through the vast emptiness of the outback, is the Christmas Creek mine, operated by Fortescue Metals Group. Continue for 40 kilometres more and you’ll reach another FMG mine, Cloudbreak.

Despite a fall in the global price of iron ore in recent years (which are beginning to rally again), there are nevertheless dollars in the dirt. In this competitive, red-earthed landscape, the major players are all continuously striving to optimise their operations in every way they can. And it is technology – from dusty robots to drones and, in particular, data analytics – that is helping them to do so.

Ramp up

Majority owned by Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting company, Roy Hill is the most recent iron ore mine to open in the region, at a cost of $10 billion. Over four years contractors built, from scratch, the mine, a 344 kilometre railway line, a process plant and a two berth port.

More than 25,000 construction workers were involved in building it, sharing 38 million hours of labour.

The first load of processed ore was loaded onto a ship in December 2015. The build complete, the handover took place last February.

Rebbecca Kerr joined the company in 2013, and was one of the first purely operation employees. As general manager technology, her priority now is to help the business quickly “ramp up” to its target 55 million tonnes per annum peak.

And there’s also Gina Rinehart’s missive from the top that Roy Hill’s main goal is to be cost competitive, achieved by “driving efficiencies and leading industry best practice”.

As Kerr explains: “We’re taking it challenge by challenge”.

Drill down

As the mine dials up its output, Kerr and her team are increasingly seeking to identify and solve and pinch points through data analytics. Data is drawn from every point of the operation, from processing plant to port. Bringing it together to make sense of it all is difficult.

Roy Hill recently commissioned Ajilon for a business analytics platform, which runs on Microsoft Azure. Using Microsoft tools, the platform ingests large volumes of data in real-time, enabling the mine’s data scientists and engineers to soon self-serve visualisation tools, develop predictive algorithms, and combine disparate information sources.

To create the platform, the first of its kind in Australia, partner Ajilon had a direct line to the development team at Microsoft’s Redmond research campus.

“You need to be able to explore and understand the data and in particular how the data relates to itself,” explains Andrew Hall, Roy Hill’s manager technology planning and architecture. “We don’t want to be doing analysis that takes days to run. We want to be able to run multiple scenarios in a time effective way.”

Hall says that Roy Hill wanted to go beyond using Azure as a static analysis environment.

“If we want to say change driver attitudes or we want to optimise performance, we need to do it in real time. You need to be providing the feedback at the appropriate times so appropriate action can be taken,” he says.

In some cases that may be at the start of a worker’s shift, and in others that might mean immediate corrective action.

While the team is still “on that journey” and Azure is “not quite there yet” Hall is confident the platform “will continue to push the boundaries of functional capability”.

Test bed

The mine has become something of a test bed for how far technology can be exploited to optimise operations. Analytics proof of concepts, in and out of Azure, are taking shape. IoT sensors run from pit to port. A range of partners, including researchers from Curtin University, are pushing their capabilities to the limit.

Take the mine’s giant pink trucks. Although not self-driving (the technology simply wasn’t ready at the time of putting together the mine’s business case Kerr says), they are being closely monitored and analysed.

“There no perfect way to drive, that’s one of the things to understand. It’s dependent on conditions, it depends on the payload in the truck, any number of different things,” says Kerr.

To get closer to perfect, sensor and GPS data, combined with external data like weather reports are being analysed. Soon, reports – timely enough to be up to date for when each shift begins – will help Roy Hill better educate drivers on how their behaviour can change to reduce say tyre wear or fuel consumption.

Meanwhile, refuelling robots are being placed in the pit to save drivers from lining up at the bow line. Housed in a shipping container, the robot senses an approaching truck, removes the fuel cap and fills it at a rate of 1200 litres a minute – far higher than the maximum allowed when refuelling by a human operator.

A 20 strong team from across the business are taking part in the trial, testing its ability and durability (“it gets pretty dusty up there,” adds Kerr).

The rail network too, will use sensor data and analysis to optimise the running of the network and predictive maintenance. Drones survey stockpiles and run environmental assessments, alerting operators to the wet spots after heavy rains. There are robots in the labs which test the ore. Drills and bulldozers are operated remotely from Roy Hill’s offices in Perth.

Must do

Every efficiency gain counts out here on the Pilbara. The company calls itself “a margin-focused business”. And a successful ramp-up is reliant on avoiding any pitfalls.

“We’re always looking at different technologies, different styles, different arrangements to build our knowledge and capability up,” adds Hall.

“We’re taking full advantage of the newness of the infrastructure and the technology we’ve implemented. Technology along with the capability and attitude of our people strengthens the foundation for our future,” says Kerr. “Innovation is a must do.”

 

Mrs. Gina Rinehart’s Leadership: An Email

by 2 March 2017

The following contact message has been sent:

Subject: Leadership

Message:

Hi Gina,

I’ve just been following the US elections of late and I believe Australia also needs someone great to lead our country. I believe you are the one who could do it. The Australian government, like the US government, has been selling us out for years. Now you, just like Donald Trump, have succeeded in about everything there is to do in this life except leading our nation to greatness. If Trump could do it, you also can! I hope it’s something you would think about.

Thankyou.