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Ranked: The Top 20 Metals and Mining Billionaires

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The Top 20 Mining Billionaires Ranked

Mining Magnates: The Top 20 Billionaires in Mining

Metals and mining can be a very profitable business for the individuals at the top, but success can also come and go based on volatile commodity prices. The average time to make a billion dollars in the sector is 16 years, compared to 21 years across all industries.

Although tech and bank CEOs get all the limelight, eight of the 100 richest people in the world are in the metals and mining industry. Today’s graphic shows the top 20 metals and mining billionaires, based on the Forbes Billionaires List.

Steel producers dominate the list, followed by copper miners.

Name Net WorthCountryCompanyOperations
Alexey Mordashov$29.1BRussia 🇷🇺Severstalsteel
Vladimir Potanin$27.0BRussia 🇷🇺Norilsk Nickelpalladium, platinum, nickel
Vladimir Lisin$26.2BRussia 🇷🇺NLMK Groupsteel
Germán Larrea Mota-Velasco$25.9BMexico 🇲🇽Grupo Méxicocopper
Gina Rinehart$23.6BAustralia 🇦🇺Hancock Prospectingiron ore
Iris Fontbona$23.3BChile 🇨🇱Antofagasta Plccopper
Andrew Forrest$20.4BAustralia 🇦🇺Fortescue Metals Groupiron ore
Alisher Usmanov$18.4BRussia 🇷🇺Metalloinvestiron ore/steel
Lakshmi Mittal$14.9BIndia 🇮🇳ArcelorMittalsteel
Wang Wenyin$13.2BChina 🇨🇳 Amer International Groupcopper
Dang Yanbao$12.7BChina 🇨🇳Ningxia Baofeng Energy Groupcoal
Savitri Jindal$9.7BIndia 🇮🇳Jindal Groupsteel/cement
Iskander Makhmudov$9.7BRussia 🇷🇺UGMKcopper
Alberto Baillères$9.2BMexico 🇲🇽Industrias Penolessilver
Andrei Skoch$8.6BRussia 🇷🇺 State Dumasteel
Zheng Shuliang$8.6BChina 🇨🇳 China Hongqiao Groupaluminum
Nicky Oppenheimer$8.0BSouth Africa 🇿🇦De Beersdiamond
Alexander Abramov$7.6BRussia 🇷🇺Evrazsteel
Rinat Akhmetov$7.6BUkraine 🇺🇦System Capital Managementsteel, coal
Igor Altushkin$7.6BRussia 🇷🇺Russian Copper Company (RMK)copper

Despite being major players in the mining industry, the United States and Canada don’t have representatives on the list.

Russia’s Mining Billionaires

Russia’s huge geographic area is filled with rich mineral resources providing a fertile ground for mining billionaires. It is the largest miner of diamonds and palladium, and the second-largest miner of platinum and nickel. It is no wonder this country hosts eight of the 20 richest people in the industry, including the first few on the list.

Alexey Mordashov, son of steel mill workers that had to use welfare coupons to raise the family, is the first on the list. The 55-year-old businessman is the majority shareholder in steel company Severstal. In the Forbes ranking, which takes into account the assets of the whole family, Mordashov ranks first among all Russian billionaires.

Next on the metals billionaire list is Vladimir Potanin, individually the wealthiest man in Russia and the owner of Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer of palladium and nickel.

Women at the Top

The first woman on the mining billionaires list in the fifth spot, is Australia’s Gina Rinehart, Executive Chairman of Hancock Prospecting. The 67-year-old executive is the only child of legendary explorer Lang Hancock, who discovered the world’s largest iron ore deposit in 1952.

Hancock died in 1992, leaving a bankrupt estate to Gina. She rebuilt and expanded the company over the following decade. As a result, she became a billionaire in 2006 during the iron ore boom.

“If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain; do something to make more money yourself”

— Gina Rinehart

The list also includes the wealthiest person in Chile, Iris Fontbona. Iris is the widow of Andrónico Luksic, who built a fortune in the mining, financial, and beverages sectors, including the top copper miner Antofagasta.

A New Era for Mining Fortunes

As demand for most minerals increases due to new technologies and the energy transition, the world needs metals and mining more than ever and soon there will be a new list of billionaires who built their fortune on the minerals of tomorrow.

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Misc

Visualizing Raw Steel Production in 2023

China produces more than half the world’s steel.

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Voronoi graphic showing the estimated global production of raw steel in 2023.

Visualizing Raw Steel Production in 2023

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Steel is essential for the economy due to its crucial role in infrastructure, construction, manufacturing, and transportation sectors.

This graphic breaks down the estimated global production of raw steel in 2023. The data was sourced from the U.S. Geological Survey as of January 2024.

China Produces More Than Half the World’s Steel

One major issue facing the steel industry is overcapacity in top producer China.

Steel production in China has surpassed demand in recent years, leading to downward pressure on the profit margins of steel mills worldwide.

Historically, China’s troubled real estate sector has accounted for over one-third of the country’s steel consumption. To address this issue, the Chinese government has mandated steel production cuts since 2021.

Far behind China, India is the second-biggest producer of steel, followed by Japan.

CountryRegion2023 Production (million tonnes)
🇨🇳 ChinaAsia1,000
🇮🇳 IndiaAsia140
🇯🇵 JapanAsia87
🇺🇸 U.S.North America80
🇷🇺 RussiaEurope75
🇰🇷 S. KoreaAsia68
🌍 Rest of World420
Total1,870

Infinite Recyclability

Steel is an alloy primarily composed of iron ore containing less than 2% carbon, 1% manganese, and other trace elements. It is 1,000 times stronger than iron and can be recycled over and over without sacrificing quality.

Steel is widely used in various industries. It is a fundamental material in construction, providing support through beams, internal structures, and roofing.

Moreover, steel’s corrosion-resistant properties make it ideal for water infrastructure. Stainless steel pipes are the preferred choice for underground water systems, ensuring longevity and purity in water transportation.

Additionally, most canned foods are stored in steel containers for preservation, as steel does not rust.

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Visualizing Cobalt Production by Country in 2023

The Democratic Republic of Congo accounts for 74% of the world’s cobalt output.

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Visualizing Cobalt Production by Country in 2023

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Cobalt is a critical mineral used in numerous commercial, industrial, and military applications. In recent years, it has gained attention as it is also necessary for batteries used in cell phones, laptops, and electric vehicles (EVs).

This graphic illustrates estimated cobalt production by country in 2023 in metric tons. The data is from the most recent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Mineral Commodity Summaries, published in January 2024.

The DRC Produces 74% of Global Cobalt

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) accounts for 74% of the world’s cobalt output. Although the metal is found on a large scale in other parts of the world, like Australia, Europe, and Asia, the African nation holds the biggest reserve by far. Of the 11,000,000 metric tons of worldwide reserves, it is estimated that 6,000,000 metric tons are located in the DRC.

Countrymetric tonsPercentage
🇨🇩 DRC170,00074%
🇮🇩 Indonesia17,0007%
🇷🇺 Russia8,8004%
🇦🇺 Australia4,6002%
🇲🇬 Madagascar4,0002%
🇵🇭 Philippines3,8002%
🌍 Other Countries21,1009.00%
Total229,300100%

Since around 20% of the cobalt mined in the DRC originates from small-scale artisanal mines, often employing child labor, the extraction of the metal has been a point of intense debate. With a long history of conflict, political upheaval, and instability, the country is often listed among the poorest nations in the world.

Today, the EV sector constitutes 40% of the overall cobalt market.

China is the world’s leading consumer of cobalt, with nearly 87% of its consumption used by the lithium-ion battery industry.

In the U.S., 50% of cobalt consumed is used in superalloys, mainly in aircraft gas turbine engines.

Learn More About Critical Minerals From Visual Capitalist

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out The Critical Minerals to China, EU, and U.S. National Security. This visualization shows which minerals are essential to China, the United States, and the European Union.

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