Rio Tinto announces record $6.5bn final dividend

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Rio Tinto, the world’s biggest producer of iron ore, has rewarded investors with a record $6.5bn final dividend as it announced new carbon emission goals.

The Anglo-Australian miner will pay a final dividend of $3.09 a share, plus a one-off payment of 93 cents per share. Added to its half-year dividend, Rio has returned $9bn to shareholders for its most recent financial year.

Rio’s bumper dividend comes amid a rally in commodity prices as the global economy recovers from the coronavirus-induced slump of 2020, aided by government and central bank support and supply disruptions. 

Iron ore, Rio’s most important commodity, surged almost 85 per cent last year to a nine-year high of above $175 a tonne on the back of robust Chinese demand and supply disruptions in Brazil.

In the year to December, underlying earnings — the figure tracked by analysts — rose 13 per cent to $12.5bn. Net debt fell to $664m from $3.65bn.

On emissions, Rio said would it invest in technologies that could deliver reductions in the carbon intensity of steelmaking of at least 30 per cent from 2030.

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