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New twist in Rinehart family feud

Mining magnate Gina Rinehart agrees to surrender some powers over her family trust.

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The Rinehart family's multimillion-dollar trust has been divided up equally between Gina Rinehart's four children, after Australia's richest person gave up her discretion to share the spoils as she saw fit.

But the battle for control of the family's wealth is far from over and is set to go to trial.

In a surprise announcement in the NSW Supreme Court this morning, lawyers for Mrs Rinehart and her children said Mrs Rinehart had bought forward the vesting date of the trust from 2068 to April 30, 2012.

Gina Rinehart: world's richest woman according to <i>BRW</i>.

Gina Rinehart ... gave up her discretion to share the spoils as she saw fit. Photo: Bloomberg

The children - John, Bianca, Hope and Ginia, can now call on their share of the trust and Mrs Rinehart cannot stop them.

The trust contains 23.45 per cent of Hancock Prospecting, the family's flagship mining company.

However, Mrs Rinehart continues to refuse to give the children access to advice she received from PricewaterhouseCoopers regarding the children's potential capital gains tax liability once they call on their share.

The court has previously heard the children could each be liable for about $150 million in capital gains tax, which Mrs Rinehart warned would "financially ruin" them.

And the children are prevented from selling their shares once they take control because of previous deeds that restrict ownership of Hancock Prospecting to lineal descendants of Mrs Rinehart.

Further, they will only receive dividends from Hancock Prospecting should the company decide to issue dividends.

Mrs Rinehart continues to control about 75 per cent of the shares.

The three eldest children, John, Bianca and Hope, are still seeking to have Mrs Rinehart removed as trustee of the new "bare trust" created as a result of the previous trust vesting in April.

They also want access to the financial statements of the trust dating back 20 years.