Gina Rinehart, in a still taken from video.

Meet Gina Rinehart. Born Georgina Hope Hancock, Rinehart is heir to her father’s fortune built at Hancock Prospecting in Australia, where Rinehart remains as executive chair. Hancock Prospecting holds the rights to the world’s largest iron ore deposit and has made Rinehart the richest woman in the world, sitting on a fortune of almost $30 billion USD.

Yesterday, Rinehart lost her cool.

Asia’s richest woman, mining magnate Gina Rinehart, warned on Wednesday that Australia was becoming too expensive for mining firms which she said could hire workers for under $2 a day in Africa.

Rinehart’s comments, promptly denounced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard, coincide with growing concern about the strength of Australia’s mining boom in the face of weaker demand from main customer China and tumbling prices of iron ore, its single biggest export earner. …

“The evidence is inarguable that Australia is becoming too expensive and too uncompetitive to do export-oriented business,” Rinehart told the Sydney Mining Club in a rare public appearance. A video of her address was posted on the club’s website.

“Africans want to work, and its workers are willing to work for less than $2 per day,” she said in the video. “Such statistics make me worry for this country’s future.

If you listen to the full statement, Rinehart’s arguments will sound remarkably familiar. She’s a job creator, you see, who wants nothing more than to put people to work. But it’s just so expensive! So she does what any job creator would do: oppose carbon pricing and turn to cheap labor overseas.

Part of Rinehart’s recent stress may have been triggered by a drop-off in the price of iron ore driven largely by overproduction of steel in China.

Rinehart was similarly charming last week in a column in a mining magazine.

“There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire. If you’re jealous of those with more money don’t just sit there and complain, do something to make more money yourself,” she wrote in Australian Resources and Investment magazine. “Spend less time drinking, smoking and socialising and more time working.”

Again, Gina Rinehart inherited her fortune from her father.