Australian billionaires Rinehart and Forrest put Atlas Iron in spotlight with share deals

Gina Rinehart’s Redstone Corporation has reportedly purchased a significant stake in junior miner Atlas Iron, following in the footsteps of Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group (FMG), which made a similar move last week.

Redstone, a subsidiary of Rinehart’s unlisted firm Hancock Prospecting, has taken a stake worth 19.6% in Atlas Iron, while FMG’s recent AUS$56 million investment took its total ownership in the same company to 19.9%.

Fortescue’s investment in Atlas Iron was enough to block a $280 million takeover bid from Mineral Resources. The deal was initially agreed by the Atlas board but will now be put to a vote that is expected in July.

Atlas currently operates two iron ore mines in the Pilbara and owns two undeveloped projects, along with an interest in the construction of a 50 million tonnes per year capacity port for the export industry.

Analysts have said Australian billionaire mining tycoon Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest and Australia’s richest woman Gina Rinehart are both looking to have their say in how Atlas’s assets are developed, and more importantly how their port access is managed.

A number of mining giants are gearing up for a fresh mining boom in the Pilbara with new multi-billion dollar iron ore projects, including FMG, BHP and Rio Tinto.