Australia’s richest person Gina Rinehart receives highest honour from king of Cambodia

Article by Brielle Burns, courtesy of The Herald Sun

Australia’s richest person Gina Rinehart has been honoured by the King of Cambodia, receiving the highest award bestowed upon non-citizens.

The mining magnate received the Royal Order of Sahametrei (The Grand Cross) from King Norodom Sihamoni in a recent ceremony in recognition of her ongoing charity work in the southeast Asian country.

The honour is awarded “for Distinguished Services to the King and to the people of Cambodia”, a statement on Ms Rinehart’s website states.

Ms Rinehart was pictured wearing a red sash at the ceremony as she smiled for a photograph alongside a group of 10 girls.

The billionaire helps young Cambodian women living in poverty receive university education through her Hope Foundation scholarship, in partnership with the Cambodian Children’s Fund.

Ms Rinehart’s mining company, Hancock Prospecting, said it is proud to support the Cambodian Children’s Fund, “with the objectives to break cycles of poverty and abuse and create positive change in Cambodia through intervention and education for the youth,” in a statement on its website.

Hancock Prospecting, founded by Rinehart’s father, made a $5 billion profit last year.

Ms Rinehart is known to be close to a group of nine young women who she rescued from extreme poverty. She has previously referred to them as her “Cambodian daughters”.

“They started their lives very differently to each of us,” Ms Rinehart said in 2019.

“They had to scavenge from sinking rubbish dumps in Cambodia, some of them sadly without parents. The rubbish dumps are not safe places for young girls.”

An insider earlier told the Sydney Morning Herald Ms Rinehart keeps in contact with them via email.

“She looks forward to seeing them each year, including twice when she has flown them to Kuala Lumpur so they could be with her when she received international awards,” the insider told the publication in 2014.

The award comes after Ms Rinehart gave out 70 gifts of $100,000 each to staff across her companies at her 2023 Christmas party and to mark her 70th birthday in February.

The lucky workers were chosen at random from more than 4000 employees.

The year before, she gifted 41 employees $100,000 each to celebrate her 41 years working at Hancock Prospecting, and handed out additional cash linked to her 69th birthday celebrations.

According to the Australian Financial Review’s Rich List, Ms Rinehart is worth $40.6 billion in 2024, after enjoying a $3.2 billion increase last year.

She is the first Australian to break the $40 billion barrier.

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