Rio Tinto's net profit soared to more than $14bn (£8.7bn) in 2010 amid strong demand in Asia for coal and iron ore, prompting the mining giant to launch a massive share buy-back.
The Anglo-Australian miner announced its financial results for the 12 months to 31 December yesterday, and said it was entering a "significant growth phase" that would include small and medium-sized acquisitions.
The company said net earnings for the 12 months were $14.3bn, an increase on the previous year of almost 200 per cent. It also announced a plan to buy back $5bn in shares by the end of 2012.
"Rio Tinto is reinvigorated, running strongly and benefiting from favourable markets," its chief executive Tom Albanese said. "GDP growth in emerging markets and supply constraints mean the general market and pricing outlook for commodities remain positive, albeit with elevated risk."
The increased risks included potential swings in commodity prices as government stimulus packages introduced to counter the financial crisis wind down.
The results were helped by robust demand for thermal coal in South Korea, India, Taiwan and China, strong demand for semi-soft coking coal as a result of rising demand for steel, and higher prices for iron ore.