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Rio Tinto Reports First-Half Earnings

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Rio Tinto, the world’s second-biggest miner by market value, released its first-half earnings after the Australian market closed on Wednesday. Here are the key details:

Underlying Profit

In the six months through June, Rio Tinto reported underlying earnings of $5.72 billion. This figure fell short of the market’s expectation of approximately $5.85 billion, according to 11 analyst forecasts compiled by Visible Alpha. It was also 34% lower than the earnings in the same period last year due to weaker commodity prices, including iron ore and aluminum.

Revenue

The miner recorded sales revenue of $26.67 billion for the period. This was 10% weaker than the same period a year earlier and lower than the Visible Alpha consensus estimate of about $27.20 billion.

Dividend Payout

Rio Tinto declared an interim dividend of $1.77 per share, a 34% decrease from $2.67 per share in the previous year. The total payout amounted to $2.9 billion and represented 50% of underlying earnings, aligning with the miner’s policy. The market had anticipated a dividend of around $1.85 per share.

Projects

The company announced an increased capital estimate for a starter plant at the Rincon lithium project in Argentina, raising it from $140 million to $335 million. This revision was attributed to changes in scope and inflation. Rio Tinto stated that the learnings and design improvements from this project would be applied to the full-scale project.

Additionally, Rio Tinto provided an update on the progress of the Simandou iron-ore project in Guinea, stating that it is advancing rapidly and expecting final approvals later this year.

The miner revised its 2023 capital investment expectation to $7.0 billion, with a potential additional $500 million to be spent at Simandou in the second half of the year. This is a change from the previous guidance of $8.0 billion, which depended on the ramp-up of spending at Simandou.

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