When Australia’s richest person Gina Rinehart learned of the secret horrors going on in a country we rarely ever think about, she knew she had to do something. Now she has received their highest honour

Article by David Southwell, courtesy of Daily Mail Australia

Australia’s richest woman Gina Rinehart has received Cambodia’s highest honour for non-citizens in recognition of charity work she does for poor children in the south-east Asian nation.

Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni bestowed the Royal Order of Sahametrei on Mrs Rinehart for ‘distinguished services to the King and to the people of Cambodia’ in a recent ceremony.

Through her Hope Foundation scholarship, which is done in partnership with the Cambodian Children’s Fund, Mrs Rinehart helps poverty-stricken Cambodian girls attend university.

At the ceremony, Mrs Rinehart was photographed wearing a royal sash and flanked by nine girls from impoverished backgrounds who had been helped by the charity.

Mrs Rinehart affectionately calls the girls helped by the charity her ‘daughters’, after first meeting them in 2019.

Hancock Prospecting, Ms Rinehart’s mining company, says on its website that the charity aims to ‘break cycles of poverty and abuse and create positive change in Cambodia through intervention and education for the youth’.

‘They started their lives very differently to each of us,’ Mrs Rinehart said in a rare interview about the subject.

‘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.’

A Hancock Prospecting insider told the Sydney Morning Herald in 2014 that Mrs Rinehart often looked forward to seeing ‘her girls’ and had twice flown them to Kuala Lumpur so they could see her receiving international awards.

Hancock Prospecting supports a number of other charities focusing on promoting Indigenous businesses and education opportunities.

In March, it was revealed the mining magnate had given away $100,000 tax-free raffle prizes to dozens of her staff at company parties.

The billionaire’s roughly 4,000 employees across her private company’s mining, energy and agricultural divisions were all in with a chance of winning the ‘life-changing’ sums of money at the firm’s black-tie events.

It’s understood that across the Christmas parties and Mrs Rinehart’s birthday bash in February, about 70 staff received a tax-free $100,000 prize – equivalent to $7million.

‘It’s like a station hand who works in rural Queensland who wins 100 grand after tax, like a crazy, life-changing thing to happen,’ one company insider told Daily Mail Australia.

As executive chair of Hancock Prospecting, which mainly mines iron ore, Mrs Rinehart’s personal wealth is estimated to be a jaw-dropping $50.48billion, according to The Australian’s Richest 250 List.

She was worth $37.1billion last year, putting her about where fellow mining magnate Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest and his estranged wife Nicola sit this year.

But in the course of the last 12 months her wealth jumped by another $13.4billion.

The surge in her fortune was largely due to the performance of her majority-owned Roy Hill iron-ore mine in WA’s Pilbara region, which posted a net profit of $2.7billion in 2023.

That profit was due to record

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