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Rio Tinto report drop of 41 per cent in 2019 despite revenue increase

By Francis Jay

Second largest miner in the world also announces $1 billion carbon-neutral plan

Rio Tinto, the second largest mining company in the world has revealed a loss of over 40 per cent in net earnings over 2019, a decrease of around $8bn.

One of the contributing factors was write-downs in a number of locations globally. These include its Oyu Tolgoi gold and copper project in the Gobi Desert and the Yarwun alumina refinery in coastal Queensland.

The company actually posted a rise in sales revenues of 7 per cent. Revenues increased to $43.2bn, largely due to higher iron ore prices, which offset declining copper and aluminium prices.

Ordinary dividends will be increased to $3.82 ($4.87) per share for the 2019 full year, up 24 per cent from $3.07 for 2018. Shares in Rio Tinto have been largely unaffected by the set of numbers today.

Alongside the announcement was a commitment to spend $1bn over the next few years to ensure the company is fully carbon-neutral by 2050. The company says that, “Our growth, overall, between now and 2030 will be carbon neutral. This is underpinned by approximately $1bn of climate-related spend over the next five years.”

The company is monitoring the coronavirus outbreak. CEO J-S Jacques said that the company’s "world-class portfolio and strong balance sheet serve us well in all market conditions, and are particularly valuable in the current volatile environment”. Adding that they are "closely monitoring the impact of the Covid-19 virus and are prepared for some short-term impacts, such as supply-chain issues”. Jacques maintained that at present there was no logistical impact and that Rio Tinto’s goods were still reaching customers safely.

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