Australia's richest woman, Gina Rinehart, may be busy seeking a seat in Fairfax Media board, but she has not left unattended the more lucrative mining sector, which catapulted her to become the world's richest woman. On Thursday, she invested $5 million in International Coal's (ASX: ICX) coal venture in Queensland.
The Australian government criticised on Friday ongoing efforts by interest organisations in India to curb the flow of Indian investments to coal mining projects into the country, specifically in Queensland.
Ms Rinehart's company, Hancock Prospecting, inked the farm-in agreement with the junior mining company. The firm has an exploration target of 280 million to 370 million tonnes of coal. If the venture succeeds, Hancock will earn 51 per cent share in coal tenements and further add to Ms Rinehart's billions of dollars.
Hancock initially will earn a 25 per cent stake in the project with the first tranche of its investment at $1.5 million. The next 26 per cent will be upon release of the second tranche at $1.5 million, and an additional payment of $2 million.
Association with the billionaire caused ICX's shares to gain 0.5 cents per share to 26.5 cents. ICX targets to undertake exploration at the Maryborough basin in the next 12 months.
While Hancock's main interest continues to be iron ore in the Pilbara region, more attention is being shifted to Queensland coal following Hancock Coal's proposed $6.4-billion Alpha coal project joint venture of Hancock with GVK of India.
The joint venture, however, is generating controversy after federal Environment Minister Tony Burke questioned the earlier approval of the project by the Queensland government.
Meanwhile, Ms Rinehart continues her quest for the elusive seat in the board of Fairfax Media, which said on Friday that it will hold talks with unions over the company's restructure plans and planned job cuts. The consultation was part of Fairfax's agreement with the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union at a Fair Work Australia conciliation conference.
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