The wealthiest debutants on the list were coal men Brian Flannery and Travers Duncan. The two, as managing director and chairman of Felix Resources, have ridden the coal train all the way to the bank, accruing a fortune of $A991 million.
Felix operates three working mines – Yarrabee, Minerva and the Ashton longwall – and has a longwall proposed at its Moolarben development.
Peter Bond, chief executive of Linc Energy, made his debut on the rich list with a wealth of $352 million. Once the owner of the Metropolitan Colliery, Bond bought Linc Energy in 2004. He holds 55% of Linc, which floated at 20c in May 2006 and today is trading at $2.99.
A relative regular on the list, Macarthur Coal founder Ken Talbot almost doubled his fortune from last year, from $465 million to $913 million this year. While still facing corruption charges, Talbot's fortunes are looking bright with the recent Macarthur takeover talk.
One of the winners from that talk has been Nathan Tinkler, who made his debut on the list this year as the youngest member. Tinkler sold his 10.4% share in Macarthur Coal last month to India's ArcelorMittal for $19.96 per share. Not bad for a 32 year old who started his career as an apprentice electrician in the Hunter Valley's coal mines.
Former Excel Coal owner and now non-executive director of Whitehaven Coal Tony Haggarty kept his spot on the list lifting his fortune to $306 million.
Also keeping his position on the list with a strong year was Aquila chairman Tony Poli who lifted his fortune from $260 million last year, to $738 million this year.
Griffin Coal's Ric Stowe also stayed on the list, this year with $875 million.
Iron ore magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest jumped up the ranks to take top spot on the list from gambling and media tycoon James Packer, the first time in 20 years a member of the Packer dynasty has not headed the list.
Forrest, who is chief executive of iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group, has amassed a record fortune of $9.41 billion, up from $3.89 billion last year when he came in fifth position, according to the list released today.
FMG this month began shipping first iron ore from its Pilbara operations to Chinese steelmaker Baosteel.
Westfield co-founder Frank Lowy took out second position with $6.3 billion while Packer came in third with $6.1 billion.
Meanwhile, Gina Rinehart was once again honoured with being the richest woman in Australia, coming in at fifth position with $4.39 billion, up from $4 billion a year earlier when she took fourth position.
A notable inclusion on this year’s list is the formerly bankrupt Alan Bond who came in at 157 on the list with $265 million.
Bond, who was declared bankrupt in 1992, holds a number of overseas mining interests including stakes in Lesotho Diamond Corporation and Madagascar Oil.
The total wealth of the list this year has risen from $127.6 billion last year to $139.6 billion.