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Rio Tinto net earnings up 194% over last year

Rio Tinto announced net earnings of US$14.324 billion in 2010, up from US$4.872 billion in 2009.

The company also announced a $5 billion share buy-back program and a 20 per cent increase in its dividend payment. Final dividend of 63 US cents per share increases total dividends for 2010 to 108 US cents per share. Bloomberg reported that the buyback may increase if commodity prices stay high.

In 2010, the company undertook $12 billion in capital projects.

“We have embarked on Australia’s largest fully integrated mining project through the expansion of our iron ore business in the Pilbara towards 283 million tonnes a year by 2013, and continue to finalise studies into the phase two expansion to 333 million tonnes a year by 2015,” said Tom Albanese, chief executive officer.

Michael McCrae wrote this story. You can contact him at [email protected].