Gina Rinehart
Gina Rinehart is worth US$11bn, according to Forbes magazineGetty

Australia's wealthiest woman, Gina Rinehart, won an appeal in the country's high court, forcing Rio Tinto Group to pay her royalties from two iron ore mines in the Pilbara region in Western Australia.

Mining giant Rio Tinto said that it was not liable to pay royalties on property that was bought in 1970 from Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd and Wright Prospecting Pty Ltd. Under the 1970 agreement, Rio Tinto had agreed to pay 2.5% on iron ore sales from the two areas. The mining company also claimed that it was not also liable for royalties as the mines were not constantly in its ownership for this time.

Rio Tinto defended its case by saying that the Eastern Range and Channar mines lay outside the area on which royalties were due under the original deal made with 61-year-old Rinehart's father Lang Hancock and partner at the time, Peter Wright.

The high court failed to agree with the mining giant and said that it must cover the charges. To begin with, the New South Wales Supreme Court supported Hancock Prospecting and Wright Prospecting and told Rio Tinto to pay A$130m (£61m, $94m) in owed royalties and interest. However, in an appeal, this was cut down to A$89m in royalties.

Rio Tinto is the world's second largest exporter of Iron ore, an ingredient that is vital in steel making. Earlier this year, the company reported a more than 80% drop in first half profit, as world oversupply of iron ore pushed the metal's price to a 10-year-low.