Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart, who built her fortune on iron ore, is making a US$435 million foray into the Chinese baby formula market which is forecast to almost double in three years.
Rinehart is seeking to acquire 5,000 hectares of farmland in Queensland state through Hope Dairies Ltd., controlled by closely held Hancock Prospecting Ltd.
She expects to start production in the second half of 2016, Bloomberg reported Friday, citing co-investor and director Dave Garcia.
All the output will be exported to China.
The move comes as Australian miners expand into food production to tap rising demand from Asia’s middle classes.
Rinehart, the richest woman in Asia, will compete in an infant formula market expected to swell after the world’s most populous nation loosened its one-child policy last year.
“There’s another 50 million mouths probably coming online,” Garcia said. “There’s room for everyone in this right now.”
Hope Dairies, named after Rinehart’s mother, is seeking pasture in Queensland’s South Burnett region and a processing facility in Mary Valley.
The dairy farm, which is planned to be among Australia’s biggest, could produce as much as 30,000 metric tons of formula a year, the report said.
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