Rinehart push for Fitzroy fix

by 25 May 2018

Jenne Brammer, The West Australian, Thursday, 24 May 2018

Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Agriculture and the Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association have joined forces to explore whether there is appetite to create a group which could work with the State Government to help shape its vision for the Fitzroy River.

An invitation to discuss the potential for forming a steering group has been issued to key stakeholders who would be affected by the State Government’s Fitzroy River election commitments.

The commitments involve creation of the Fitzroy River National Park and the development of a management plan for the Fitzroy catchment, incorporating a water-allocation plan to ensure the long-term health of the river.

As part of its commitments, the Government has also stated the Fitzroy River and its tributaries will not be dammed.

Pastoralists in the area are concerned that, aside from stifling further economic progress, the reclamation of land and preventing livestock from accessing drinking water by fencing off the river could cause productivity losses amounting to tens of millions of dollars.

Although there is no detail yet on planned boundaries for the national park, because of their locations Mrs Rinehart’s Fossil Downs and Liveringa stations, and the Harris family’s Gogo Station, are expected to be among the biggest losers from the Government’s national park plans.

Hancock Agriculture would not comment yesterday.

The catchment management plan, meanwhile, could affect up to 48 pastoral leases.

A letter sent by the KPCA on Tuesday invited pastoralists, Aboriginal traditional owners, environmental groups and some government agencies to attend an initial exploratory meeting on June 22 at Fitzroy Crossing.

Alastair Shields, most recently chief executive of the Northern Territory Department of Tourism and Culture, will act as independent chair of the meeting.

The planned evening meeting follows a community consultation started by the McGowan Government in March, which involved a meeting in the area hosted by Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, Agriculture and Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan, Water Minister Dave Kelly, and Treasurer and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt.

Traditional land owners and representatives of Aboriginal groups, pastoralists, environmental organisations, government and industry took part.

Here’s how long Gina Rinehart’s wealth could keep Australia running

by 24 May 2018

Neale Prior and Daniel Newell

The West Australian
Wednesday, 23 May 2018 1:30PM

With a mammoth and ever-increasing cash pile there is no good reason for Australia’s richest person, and the 85th-ish richest person walking the planet, not to be pretty relaxed.

If Gina Rinehart appears more laid-back than usual it is probably because a few months ago she was able to tell the world her Roy Hill iron ore mine had started making money.

Lots and lots and lots of money — which is how she made Bloomberg’s Robin Hood Index.

Published earlier this year, the annual index shows how many days the richest person of each country could hypothetically keep their governments running.

With the Federal Government burning through $1.494 billion a day just to keep the lights on, Bloomberg estimates Mrs Rinehart’s $16 billion net worth could keep things in Australia ticking over for 11 days.

The world’s richest person, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, could use his $99 billion to run the US for five days.

Cyprus’ John Fredriksen could run his country for 441 days with his $10.4 billion but China’s Jack Ma would have spent his $45.5 billion in just four days.

The problem is Mrs Rinehart might not have the cash on hand to bail out Australia, which would have to hope Rio Tinto and Hancock Prospecting keep sending shiploads of iron ore to Asia.

At least 90 per cent of Mrs Rinehart’s wealth is tied up in her Roy Hill and Hope Downs iron ore joint venture, and in her family’s right to royalties from most of Rio Tinto’s Pilbara iron ore operations.

The guess of the crew behind WA’s Rich List is that Australia would have to get by on $6 million less a day if it was to tap into Mrs Rinehart’s cash-flow.

This means Australia would have to cut its annual spend by more than 99 per cent a day, meaning Federal Parliament would have to meet by telephone if they had the money to keep going.

Unsurprisingly, Mrs Rinehart again topped this year’s, with our slightly less impressive estimate of a $12.93 billion, still up on last year’s $10.52 billion.

The Rich List estimate of Mrs Rinehart’s wealth allocates a quarter of her flagship Hancock Prospecting to her four children.

Production at Roy Hill may have tentatively started production a couple of years earlier but it was not until November 2017 that Roy Hill Holdings celebrated its maiden annual profit and marked the first full year of commercial production from the $US10 billion mine.

The bottom-line profit of $523 million vindicated Mrs Rinehart’s decision to go it alone and fulfil her family’s dream of owning its own iron ore mine.

Roy Hill Holdings, 70 per cent of which is owned by Mrs Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting, recorded sales revenue of $2.3 billion on selling about 33 million tonnes of iron ore for the year. It had achieved its targeted run rate capacity of 55 million tonnes a year.

Four years after painstakingly stitching together funding for the project from Japan’s Marubeni, South Korea’s Posco and China Steel Corporation — and 60 years after her father Lang claimed he had discovered the world’s biggest iron ore deposit — Mrs Rinehart had done it.

She could now turn to other things, such as cows and politics.

A year after buying Australia’s biggest cattle business, S. Kidman and Co, Mrs Rinehart ramped up her exposure to the sector by boosting her Australian herd to serve up more premium steak to discerning customers in China.

On the political front, Mrs Rinehart this year proved she was a chip off the old block when it came to making her thoughts known to MPs. She spent Christmas Day penning a 700-word email to Premier Mark McGowan, blasting him for daring to mess with funding for the Schools of the Air.

The scathing transcript noted that “… the principles of equity and universal access that have underpinned education in Australia for many decades have been abandoned with this shameful decision”.

Mrs Rinehart didn’t limit her activism to parish pump politics. Late last year she called on Australian governments to follow the examples of US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in creating a more internationally competitive environment by cutting company taxes and red tape.

Ron Manners – FaceBook

by 1 May 2018

Gina Rinehart’s crusade on red tape in Australian Agriculture

by 27 April 2018

By “Prime” Ag News,  Apr 27, 2018

Australia’s wealthiest woman is on a crusade, and she has the red tape choking the agricultural sector in her sights. If the sector is to survive and prosper, says Gina Rinehart, government must urgently cut the regulatory burden.

Rinehart says that while there are opportunities in agriculture, they won’t be realised until barriers facing business are reduced.

“Each of our agriculture industries needs to be focused on what can happen when government burdens get too high, hence costs get too high,” she says. “And in turn they should speak out continuously against increasing red tape and compliance burdens, payroll tax, escalating stamp tax and licences, and other government burdens, to help protect their very future.”

She says there is no helpful place for government intervention in the commodities export market “but our international customers will buy our products, if they remain cost competitive and reliable.”

Whenever people hear the names Rinehart and Hancock, they think of the mining sector. Rinehart’s wealth is built on iron ore, but it’s Australia’s agricultural sector that is gaining her attention.

In 2016, Hancock bought the $386.5 million cattle empire S Kidman & Co as a majority partner in a joint bid with Chinese group Shanghai CRED. And just before Christmas, cattle and properties in western Queensland acquired from veteran Australian wagyu producer Wally Rea were added to the stable.

The acquisitions made Hancock one of the top beef producers in Australia, but Rinehart says few people know that the family has owned cattle stations stretching back decades earlier than Kidman.

Her great-grandparents founded several of the first stations in the north, including Ashburton Downs with its famous cattle brand, Hancock 3 b.

“Our international customers will buy our products, if they remain cost competitive and reliable.” Gina Rinehart

Rinehart was raised on Mulga Downs station, in the north west, owned at that time by her grandfather and father. Then it was a sheep station, but later switched to cattle and remains in the family’s hands. “I loved my life on those stations,” Rinehart says.

The combined Kidman and Hancock herd will reach 300,000 head, placing Hancock among the top three beef producers in Australia. Last year, The Hancock Group launched its new full-blood wagyu beef brand for export to Asia.

There is also strong demand for the 2GR brand in the Australian fine dining market, Rinehart told the Financial Review earlier this year. “We are very pleased to be moving our 2GR wagyu into Australia’s best restaurants, and would like to maintain this as a priority,” she says. Rinehart wants to highlight the critical need for Australia’s agricultural industry to be cost competitive. In 2015-2016, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the total value of Australia’s agricultural production was $56 billion. “Internationally, given the important fact that most of the markets for our agriculture are actually overseas, we must compete globally to underpin our cost competitiveness and enable Australian agriculture’s sustainability,” Rinehart says.

According to PwC’s 2018 CEO Survey, Australian leaders claim regulation is the biggest threat to growth in the year ahead, alongside cyber security.

Rinehart says we need to lower all forms of government cost burdens, be that red tape, compliance, taxes or ever-increasing licence costs.

She says if cattle giant Sidney Kidman faced the current government tape and compliance burdens, the empire he created would never have been possible. Rinehart would like Australians to receive more education about where things come from and the contribution agriculture and its related industries make to Australians’ lives.

She says 16 per cent of Australia’s private sector workforce is based in agriculture or related industries and every year each Australian pastoralist and farmer provides enough food on average to feed 400 other Australians and export enough food to feed about 600 people living overseas.

“Let’s think about those 1.6 million employees in our agriculture industry and the income tax they pay, and the tax from the 130,000 agribusinesses in Australia, not just company taxes but payroll tax, stamp duty, the GST and licences,” Rinehart told the National Agriculture and Related Industries dinner in Canberra recently.

“These business and employment taxes help to show a very important picture of agriculture, an industry vital to our country and its future. And I haven’t even spoken about the importance of reliably feeding Australians with fresh and clean produce.”

PwC Food and Agribusiness advisory partner Tim Lee agrees that there is strong demand for Australian agricultural products, and there are opportunities to grow the sector through promoting Australia’s clean and green image.

“In Asia, especially, there are opportunities for Australian produce, where clean and green food is sold at a premium. Having healthy food that is safe to eat is something we take for granted in Australia,” he says. “As we continue to export more food the need and demand for food security and trust in the supply chain continues to grow.

We send lamb to the Middle East, beef to Vietnam, Korea and Japan, and have recently exported live cattle to China from northern Australia. Australia’s almonds go everywhere, especially India, in large volumes, and our fresh fruit and vegetable produce is well-regarded in Asia. Australia punches above its weight on the export market due to our small population and relatively large production base.”

Lee says free trade agreements with the US, China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia have helped Australian food producers and will continue to do so over the next decade.

“Export tariffs on Australian beef to China, which are currently up to 25 per cent, will cease by 2024, making Australian producers more competitive. There really are genuine opportunities across a range of commodities as a result of these sorts of agreements,” he says.

With the trade environment becoming more favourable for Australian producers, the focus will turn to production rather than trade and making the most of resources in Australia, such as land and water.

Rinehart says Australia is a lucky country. “Lucky that we have abundant land and water and sunshine. But we will be unlucky if we don’t use it.”

Australian Resources & Investment Magazine – National Mining and Related Industries Day

by 15 April 2018

Australian Resources & Investment Magazine – National Mining and Related Industries Day

Latest tech all the go at Fossil Downs

by 23 March 2018

 by Matt Sherrington, Farm Weekly
22 Mar 2018

SINCE 2016, Rick Ford, manager of pure Droughtmaster herd operation Fossil Downs at Fitzroy Crossing, has been embracing agricultural technology innovations to help improve overall efficiency, animal welfare and staff safety.

Rick and his family moved from a nearby property to run Fossil Downs nearly two years ago.

“The property is 394,000 hectares and has the Fitzroy and Margaret Rivers on the doorstep,” Rick said.

“These two water sources present a major opportunity for agriculture in Australia.” He said the herd continually fluctuated with purchases, sales and natural increases but there were almost 20,000 head on the property.

Rick said they began trialling modern agricultural technology innovations on the property soon after he took up his management position at Fossil Downs.

“We use data management software to collect stock data which is uploaded to the cloud every night and syncs with our head office in Perth,” he said.

“This data is transmitted and accessible from many positions instantly.

“We’re also using an ultrasound pregnancy testing machine to provide a less intrusive, more comfortable process for our cows, which also provides us with greater accuracy.” Rick said a walk-over weigh platform had been set up in the paddock at a watering point which provided the staff with data on each individual animal that passes over it.

“It has the capability of drafting off animals at a target weight range and provides other relevant data from the paddock direct to our computers or phones,” he said.

“We can access information on rainfall, hourly images of the water levels in our troughs and tanks, the density of cattle in a specific area, satellite images of pasture growth and many other useful and crucial pieces of information.” Rick said solar technology was being rolled out to reduce their reliance on diesel.

“This can be witnessed onproperty with the solar bore pumps, solar hot water and solar lighting we have installed, which are reducing operational costs across the board,” he said.

Digital mobilised radios are also in use, which Rick said has greatly improved communications across the property and significantly enhanced safety standards for employees.

“Our employees wear their radios every day, this keeps staff in close contact so that if an accident was to occur on our million acre property, the employee can push the emergency button triggering an alarm on every radio across the station to raise awareness,” Rick said.

“These learned technologies from the mining industry substantially improve staff safety.

“For example our GPS tracking system ensures that if a vehicle breaks down we can track them in real time and send

out assistance at a rapid pace.” Rick said the water points had been increased to lower the distance cattle have to walk, reducing their stress and to assist staff with paddock utilisation through grazing management.

“To support the increased water points we’ve increased fencing and we’re moving the herd towards a more controlled mating routine which ensures calves are born at a time where the lactating cow can maintain peak condition, again improving animal welfare, particularly supporting calves more holistically,” he said.

Rick said he always kept a keen eye on new innovations that could be adopted into the beef industry and said many exciting projects were evolving.

“The use of drones on the property is something we’re looking into closely and we’re attempting to ascertain how they could be used to complement our business, both economically and environmentally,” he said.

Rick said Droughtmasters have been used on Fossil Downs for 30 years and were brought in by former owners John and Annette Henwood who “did a tremendous job in developing the herd”.

He has purchased significant numbers of Droughtmaster bulls since he took over as manager and he has been very pleased with how they have performed.

“In 2016 we had a very big wet with extreme humidity which challenged the purchased bulls a bit, but they adapted well and came out stronger and better for it,” Rick said.

Herd development aims for a polled beast that is soft and mature with a high fertility rate, which are grown out to 350kg then sold to the local market.

“The poll gene from the Droughtmaster is a great selling point,” Rick said.

“We always test for the poll gene.

“We want a high semen count and strong morphology results.

“The bone structure must be dense and the beasts must have a safe sheath and definitely not be overfed.

“They have a great temperament, which is balanced with the breed’s muscle formation and physical style.

“Their genetic makeup brings high performance in terms of fertility which creates greater returns to the business and improves the herd.” Rick said there was a large stand of feed at Fossil Downs to keep the cattle in good shape.

“This is all part of our management plan,” he said.

Rick said he loved being a beef producer as it’s a “fantastic life not just for me, but, also for bringing up my four daughters with my beautiful wife Stacey”.

“When you stand back and look into the industry for the most part everyone is positive,” he said.

“We definitely see growth going forward.

“If we get government support in WA I believe not only Fossil Downs, and not just cattle, but the whole of the Kimberley will grow and prosper.

“We just need access to water from our rivers and recharging aquifers year round so we can together make the Kimberley a powerful agricultural force in Australia.”

Concerns mount over red tape among Australian miners

by 11 March 2018

Anthony Barich
7 March 2018
SNL Metals & Mining Daily: West Edition

As Australia’s miners brace themselves for the impact of the U.S. president’s decision to tax steel imports at 25%, the chair of Australia’s single biggest iron ore mine has lavished praise on Donald Trump, who she says could teach a thing or two to local politicians, as industry red tape concerns gather pace.

Mining magnate Gina Rinehart — executive chairman of Roy Hill Holdings Pty Ltd., owner of the Roy Hill mine — lauded Trump’s “trailblazing” economic reforms while addressing the 500 Club’s inaugural State Shapers Series Lunch Feb. 28.

“The U.S. is showing, with their tax and tape cutting, they welcome investment and all of the associated benefits that go with it of sustainable jobs, rising living standards and higher wages, and bringing people out of the problems of being on the dole,” Rinehart said.

“Isn’t it time our governments knew this, and did something significant about this, not just say they are cutting red tape.” She added that Australia’s red tape was significantly higher than under the notorious “anti-business, socialist” Whitlam government of 1972-1975.

The comments came just days after Canadian think tank the Fraser Institute’s Annual Survey of Mining Companies for 2017 revealed that Australia’s highest-ranked state for investment attractiveness, Western Australia, where the Roy Hill mine resides, dropped from third in 2016 to fifth behind Finland, Saskatchewan, Nevada and Ireland.

Minerals Council of Australia CEO David Byers said in a March 5 statement that it was “alarming” to note that some Australian states were only just ahead of “tiny” African nations like Burkina Faso in perceptions of government policy that influence mining exploration investment.

“Australia’s world-class mining sector is handicapped by over-regulation, red tape and duplicated environmental laws across most jurisdictions — all of which limits job creation and prosperity, especially in regional communities,” Byers said.

The survey responses also showed some large drops in the Policy Perception Index scores — a measure of the attractiveness of mining policies — for the Northern Territory, Victoria and Western Australia and their relative rankings against other mining regions.

While New South Wales’ global ranking improved, its index score still dropped, ranking in the bottom half of surveyed regions this year along with Victoria, with both states ranked as having comparable policy settings to Burkina Faso (ranked 55), Ghana (51) and Guyana (56); while Fiji (37) also outscored those two states.

Australian regions scored particularly low on ratings of taxation regimes, with less than 9% of respondents rating existing tax systems as encouraging investment — far below the 30%-plus scores received by perennial survey high fliers Finland, Ireland, Saskatchewan and Sweden.

Association of Mining and Exploration Companies CEO Warren Pearce told S&P Global Market Intelligence that while Australia still has a “very good” reputation as a place to do business, there has been some high-profile government initiatives around bringing in greater revenue from the mining industry, citing the unsuccessful attempt by Western Australia’s new Labor government to lift the gold royalty from 2.5% to 3.5% in 2017.

He said the Fraser survey provided an important lesson to governments: “Understand that capital is mobile, and when you bring in these sort of changes to an industry that has long-term investment, it’s going to have some impact.”

“That said, Western Australia particularly but other states as well, are still very prospective and very favorable places to do business,” he said, but added that there was also an underlying understanding that costs were higher in Australia, which was offset “to some degree” by the country’s low sovereign risk profile.

Yet Omar Khan, the head of corporate development at cobalt-focused junior High Grade Metals Ltd. — which will start trading on the ASX on March 7 after a reverse takeover of Quest Minerals Ltd., and is shifting its focus to Austria rather than Australia — said the decision had nothing to do with any issues of perceived sovereign risk.

Khan, who started at High Grade in the week of March 2, told S&P Global Market Intelligence that the company did not see any material issue in looking for opportunities in Australia, which was still highly regarded among capital markets.

“The advantage of our cobalt assets being based in Austria was the significant car and battery manufacturing that exists nearby,” Khan said.

“Even from a capital markets perspective, most of the cobalt mineral explorers are listed either on the ASX or in Toronto. They’re the markets of choice for explorers, which says a lot about doing business in Australia, even if their underlying asset isn’t always located in Australia.”


by 2 March 2018

Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun
02 March 2018

Mining and cattle tycoon Gina Rinehart in a speech to the 500 Club makes a scary comparison between Australia and the America of much-mocked Donald Trump.

Only one of the two can boast of a record like this, thinks to moves like slashing company tax slashed from 35 percent to 21 percent, and 22 regulations for every new bit of red tape:

  • Over 2.4 million jobs have been created in a year;
  • business optimism is at an all-time high;
  • The stock market has repeatedly reached record highs;
  • Investment is strong and rising;
  • Wages are rising with the usual weekly paycheck for the median worker rising by its fastest rate in nearly a decade;
  • Consumer confidence is high, beating predictions;
  • Unemployment claims are the lowest they have been in nearly 50 years;
  • The unemployment rate is at the lowest it’s been in 17 years;
  • Unemployment has fallen to record lows for typically high unemployment groups; and
  • Female unemployment is at a near two decade low.


Wow, I would even be more excited as a fourth generation West Australian and Australian, and someone who I think has shown her dedication to West Australia and Australia too, if I could say this exciting and very important news was happening in this state and our country.

The United States, under President Donald Trump’s leadership, is showing everyone they are open for business and investment, and truly on the way to making the USA great again.

In contrast:

The truth is approvals, permits and licences, are not encouraging to investment or jobs or improving living standards, or bringing the revenue we need for essential services, defence, police, hospitals and health centres, our elderly, better infrastructure, sporting facilities, parks and more. Isn’t it time our governments knew this, and did something significant about this, not just say they are cutting red tape. It is now hugely higher than it was under the anti-business, socialist Whitlam government…

For instance:

Brazil, a country with a similar land mass, has a cattle industry nearly 10 times bigger than Australia’s and we like to tell ourselves we are world leaders in agriculture…

Just one example of government regulation that acts to prevent our cattle industry from developing in WA, is the restrictions on the usage of the Fitzroy River.

Across the average wet season, approximately 7,000 gigalitres of water is wasted as it uselessly flows into the ocean, past many stations.

Just one years flow is about 14 times the amount of water in the huge Sydney Harbor! 

As it stands in 2017, the government only allows one water licence to access water from the Fitzroy River for a mere 6 gigalitres.

This leaves approximately 99.9991% of the water to run out uselessly into the Ocean.

Mrs. Gina Rinehart’s contributions to West Australia acknowledged as award recipient of the inaugural 500 Club State Shapers Award

by 2 March 2018

28 February 2018
Hancock Prospecting

Mrs. Gina Rinehart, Executive Chairman of the Hancock Prospecting Group, Roy Hill and Kidman and Co,  has been awarded the inaugural 500 Club State Shapers Award at a club lunch at the Hyatt, Perth on the 28th of February.

This award is given to those who have helped shaped our state. Mr. William Meston, when presenting the award said “Mrs. Rinehart believes in WA. She believes in what our opportunity is. She believes in our potential and most importantly has the courage of her convictions and the incredible levels of resilience required to succeed and do things differently, and has played a major role in shaping the state of Western Australia over the past generations. She is a leading figure in the mining and agriculture industries in Australia….Mrs. Rinehart has transformed the (Hancock) Group from one that was in difficulties and financially troubled to a successful industry-leading innovator. Under Mrs. Rinehart’s leadership, the Hancock Group has diversified from prospecting to include investments in iron ore, coal, beef, dairy and property.”

Mrs. Rinehart was awarded this award given her enormous contributions to our state, firstly in the mining sector and now increasingly in agriculture too. She also started Australia’s first national day for the mining and related industries, and last year , the inaugural day for the agriculture and related industries, 22nd  and 21st November respectively, the two largest industry contributors to our state.

Please see below Mrs. Rinehart’s speech and photos from the luncheon.

Speech by Gina Rinehart to the 500 Club

Photos from Gina Rineharts Award Ceremony at the 500 Club

Rinehart beefs up wagyu herd with breeding, buying

by 21 January 2018

AFR Weekend, by Brad Thompson
20 Jan 2018

Gina Rinehart may be the owner of world’s biggest full-blood and pure bred wagyu herd, but says she has no intention of hanging her hat on that title.

Mrs Rinehart’s private company Hancock Prospecting is focused on building an even bigger and better quality wagyu herd through breeding programs and more acquisitions.

In an interview with AFR Weekend, the billionaire, 63, revealed that only financial commitments in iron ore mining prevented her becoming a major investor in agriculture earlier in her business career.

“I have long wanted to diversify from all my eggs in one basket… but with commitments to hold tenements and to pay back borrowings, this motivation had been on hold,” she said.

Hancock Prospecting owns more cattle properties and associated production assets in its own right than through its majority stake in S. Kidman &Co.

The investment in agriculture in recent years, topping $1 billion when Kidman and a potash project in the UK are added, includes a string of wagyu assets.

“Why wagyu? It’s because I believe in investing in good products and the wagyu we’ve acquired is at least some of not only the best in Australia but also the world,” Mrs Rinehart said.

It is estimated that Hancock Prospecting now has about 15,000 fullblood wagyu cattle in Australia.

The numbers swelled just before Christmas with the acquisition of cattle and properties in western Queensland from veteran Australian wagyu producer Wally Rea.

The $40 million-plus purchase included thousands of cows and calves as Hancock Prospecting continues to build its high-end 2GR wagyu brand.

The latest acquisition appears to have pushed Hancock Prospecting past the Australian Agricultural Company nationally and possibly to No. 1 globally in terms of full-blood and pure bred numbers.

However, industry observers admit comparisons are difficult and vary with how the wagyu name is applied to cross-bred cattle and in different jurisdictions.

Mrs Rinehart told The Australian Financial Review that Hancock Prospecting was not interested in who had the biggest herd.

“We’re just wanting to maintain our truly excellent quality,” she said. “What does impress me is that we have developed one of the world’s best wagyu products, with demand in some of the best culinary environments in the world.”

Hancock Prospecting’s wagyu production is built around breeding and growing cattle in NSW and then fattening and processing them in Queensland. The company is also using wagyu bulls in a major cross-breeding program on its pastoral stations in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

The 2GR brand was launched by Mrs Rinehart at the John Dee processing plant in Warwick, Queensland, less than 12 months ago with the loading of 12 tonnes of boxed beef bound for China Exports grew from a container load a month to a container load a week to Asian markets prepared to pay a premium, but more recently sales in Australia have steadily increased.

The brand’s traction in the domestic market and the company’s focus on local sales has surprised those who saw the business as solely focused on exports. Mrs Rinehart said there was strong demand for the 2GR brand in the Australian fine dining market “We are very pleased to be moving our 2GR wagyu into Australia’s best restaurants, and would like to maintain this as a priority,” she said.

“We are especially keen to sell our product in Australia and into the world’s finest restaurants, including those in Asia, and our quality of product underpins this.

“There is no specific target for herd numbers and off-take, we are focused on continuing our leading quality and wanting to continue to invest in Australia assuming we can continue to be cost competitive internationally.”

Mrs Rinehart said her family’s involvement in the West Australian cattle industry dating back four generations gave her “some confidence to invest in the industry I was brought up in before mining”.

The plans for the Kidman properties purchased with China’s Shanghai CRED late in 2016 include major investments in infrastructure and technology, including the use of drones, communications upgrades and sophisticated cattle monitoring.

Mrs Rinehart said morale was high at the stations she visited before a Kidman board meeting in December, but some improvements had taken longer than expected to roll out “The station staff hugely welcome the investments we are making,” she said. “More board-approved investment will flow in 2018 to continue to improve the stations.”