Richest in world worth $8 trillion
GINA Rinehart has cemented her reign as Australia's wealthiest person thanks to recovering iron ore prices adding $3.2 billion to her riches this year.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index Mrs Rinehart is now worth $19.2 billion, making her the 85th wealthiest person on the planet in 2017.
The top 500 billionaires on the earth raked in an additional $1.3 trillion this year as the global economic environment recovered, swelling their combined fortunes 23 per cent to $7.9 trillion.
Mrs Rinehart may have topped the Aussie list but her wealth pales in comparison to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos who jumped to first place this year with a massive fortune of $128.6 billion. Mr Bezos added a whopping $43.9 billion during 2017, knocking Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates down to second place.
Mr Gates, who is worth $117.8 billion, had held the top position since May 2013.
His charity the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been very active seeking donations and giving pledges from fellow billionaires, including Fortescue Metals chairman Andrew Forrest, who pledged $400 million earlier this year to cancer research.
Not to be outdone, in August Mr Gates donated $5.9 billion to his own charity in the form of Microsoft shares, which reduced his stake in the software maker to 1.3 per cent.
Third place on the Bloomberg list with $109.9 billion was long time member Warren Buffett, the largest shareholder and chairman of investment company Berkshire Hathaway.
The publicly traded business owns insurer Geico, manufacturer Clayton Homes and utility MidAmerican Energy.
In fourth place was Spanish fast fashion king and Zara founder Amancio Ortega with $97.3 billion, who added $5.9 billion to his wealth during the year.
Rounding out the top five was Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg with $94.1 billion. The social network has about two billion monthly users and revenue of $36 billion in 2016.
Mrs Rinehart was the wealthiest Australian this year with her company Hancock Prospecting doubling its profits to $1.07 billion thanks to a jump in iron ore sales from the Roy Hill project in the Pilbara.
The second placed Australian (ranked 213 on the Bloomberg list) was Meriton boss Harry Triguboff with $9.66 billion. His company has built about ten per cent of all the apartments in Sydney and owns about 6000 rental apartments in Australia.
Commodities trader Glencore's chief executive Ivan Glasenberg was the third placed Aussie with $8.25 billion. Recovering commodities prices helped his wealth jump by $2.8 billion during the year to make him the 256th wealthiest person on the planet.
Cardboard box king and Visy executive chairman Anthony Pratt was the fourth wealthiest Australian with $7.4 billion. Mr Pratt, who is ranked 316 overall, owns about one third of the Melbourne-based business which reported revenue of $4.4 billion in 2016.
Rounding out the top five was retail shopping tsar Frank Lowy, who capped off the year by selling his international Westfield business to a French company for $32.7 billion. Mr Lowy is ranked 346th on the list with $7 billion.
The only other Australian on the list was casino mogul James Packer, worth $5.42 billion and ranked 480th.