An open-face pit of the Rio Tinto West Angelas iron ore mine in Pilbara, northwest of Perth, Australia. Image Credit: Bloomberg

London: Rio Tinto Group, the world’s biggest iron ore miner, reported its highest-ever interim profit and said it will pay $9.1 billion in dividends as the company and its global rivals cash in on this year’s commodities rally. The company said its underlying earnings more than doubled to $12.2 billion from the same period last year.

Rio will pay a regular interim dividend of $6.1 billion and a special dividend of $3 billion. Together, the half-year payout is more than the company returned for the whole of 2020.

Rio is the first of the biggest diversified miners to post earnings and is kicking off a reporting season that is expected to see record results across the board. The mining sector has been one of the biggest beneficiaries from the world’s efforts to emerge from the pandemic.

The trillions of dollars poured into recovery packages have ignited demand for commodities like steel, iron ore and aluminum, driving prices sharply higher and sending inflation pressures rippling through the global economy. “Government stimulus in response to ongoing COVID-19 pressures has driven strong demand for our products at a time of constrained supply resulting in a significant spike in most prices,” said CEO Jakob Stausholm.