Gina Rinehart loses stake in Rhodes Ridge

Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting has been ordered to hand over its stake in the much-hyped Rhodes Ridge iron ore deposit in the Pilbara to its rival mining dynasty Wright Prospecting.

Orders made by the Supreme Court of Western Australia today mark the end to a more than decade-long feud over the intentions of the late Pilbara visionaries and close friends Lang Hancock and Peter Wright.

The aging miners divided their partnership assets in a 1984 agreement in the hopes of preventing litigation between their children.

Under the 1984 agreement Wright was given the option to take Hancock's half of their 50 per cent interest in the undeveloped iron ore deposit.

But Hancock has fought to retain its share over Rhodes Ridge, a high grade iron ore deposit, which has been forecast to be worth billions once developed.

Hancock's lawyers appealed a 2010 Supreme Court decision that it must honour the 1984 agreement.

Its lawyers had argued that subsequent agreements made to enable Mr Hancock  to help Wright's children develop Rhodes Ridge after his death had brought the asset back into the partnership.

When Mr Hancock died in 1992 he had been unsuccessful in developing Rhodes Ridge and in 1997 the Wright family moved to reclaim Hancock's 25 per cent.

Hancock lost the appeal to retain its share in October last year, but moved to have at least four of the draft orders following the decision amended.

On Wednesday the final orders were made, which oblige Hancock to do everything practicable to enable the transfer of Hancock's 25 per cent interest to Wright.

''(Hancock Prospecting) is obliged to do all things necessary (including executing documentation and joining in the seeking of the consent of any Minister or joint venture party which may be necessary) to enable (Wright Prospecting) to have the benefit of the right to assume sole control over and responsibility for the administration, development and disposal of the Rhodes Ridge Interest,'' the orders read.

No timeline has been set for the transfer and it is not yet clear what the Wright's are intending to do with the asset.

Mining giant Rio Tinto holds the remaining 50 per cent of Rhodes Ridges, which was never under dispute.

A spokesman for Wright Prosecting said the company welcomed the final orders.

''Throughout this matter and the previous matter in the Supreme Court, Wright Prospecting's focus has been to enforce and protect its ownership of 50 per cent of the Rhodes Ridge Joint Venture,'' the spokesman said.

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