Australia’s richest woman, Gina Rinehart, has joined the battle to take over Atlas Iron, a race which already includes Mineral Resources founder Chris Ellison, and Fortescue founder Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest.
Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting has reportedly acquired a stake of just under 20% in Atlas, in a move similar to that made recently by Fortescue.
Mineral Resources, the original suitor to takeover Atlas Iron, also owns a significant stake in the junior iron ore miner, but relinquished Atlas from contractual obligations preventing it from speaking with an alternative suitor last week, when Fortescue made its approach.
However, Mineral Resources is reportedly still eagre to take part in the competition to buy Atlas, which is valued more for its potential than its ongoing loss-making operations.
Atlas holds iron ore deposits, but also has port capacity at Port Hedland, another extremely valuable resource.
According to AFR, Forrest and Rinehart have a “frosty” relationship and would be unlikely to team up on a bid for Atlas.