6 Aug 2010

Record profit reported by Rio Tinto

6:49 am on 6 August 2010

Rio Tinto has reported a record profit for the January - June period, fuelled by Chinese demand for its iron ore.

The Anglo-Australian group saw its half-year net profits more than triple to $US5.8 billion, compared with $US1.6 billion for the same six months last year.

Earnings from Rio's iron ore operation, the biggest part of its business, more than doubled to $US4.1 billion, up from $US1.9 billion a year ago.

Meanwhile, its aluminium arm returned to profit, with earnings of $US313 million, as overall metal demand and prices continued to rise as the global economy improved.

The BBC reports Rio's aluminium business struggled after Rio purchased Alcan of Canada for $US38.1 billion in October 2007. Metal prices then fall sharply in the second half of 2008 as the global recession took hold.

While China was the main driver of its higher sales and profits, Rio says other parts of the world had also being buying more metals.

Chief executive Tom Albanese said continuing Chinese efforts to slow the speed of its economic growth would not have much impact on Rio.

Anglo-Swiss miner Xstrata reported on Tuesday that its first-half profits had tripled to $US2.3 billion, again due to to rising global metal demand and prices, which are boosting all of the world's main mining companies.