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Rio Tinto
International  
4 December 2017

Rio Tinto: $5 billion productivity programme to drive value

Rio Tinto has reinforced its focus on delivering superior cash returns for shareholders over the short, medium and long term to generate $5 billion.

Rio Tinto has demonstrated how it leads the sector in delivering cash returns to shareholders, returning 40% of cash generated to shareholders in the first half of 2017 – representing about half of all the returns by the top miners.

Rio Tinto has also reiterated an unwavering focus on safety and cash generation and provided for the first time a detailed review of how it will drive further productivity across its portfolio, from mine through to market.

Reaffirming its successful value-over-volume strategy built on world-class assets, a strong balance sheet, disciplined capital allocation and operational excellence, Rio Tinto says its portfolio of high-quality products has a strategic competitive advantage in commodities that are playing a key role in global urbanisation.

Providing customers with the quality products that are in high demand in key markets secures a premium and positions Rio Tinto to continue to outperform its peers.

“All the evidence shows that our value-over-volume strategy is working: delivering superior cash returns for our shareholders, including $8.2 billion announced in 2017," says Rio Tinto CE, Jean-Sébastien Jacques.

"We returned to shareholders 40 cents in every dollar of cash generated by the business in the first half.

“Looking ahead, the $5 billion productivity programme will help drive value over the next five years.

"With our top-tier assets producing quality low-cost products in high demand, a strong growth pipeline and the best balance sheet in the industry, we have a strong platform for future growth.

"Our group target of $1.5 billion of annual additional free cash flow from 2021 will ensure we can continue to lead the pack in delivering superior cash returns to our shareholders.”

Rio Tinto has also provided an update on how it plans to keep growing its business, including significant brownfield, high-return growth, replacement and productivity improvement opportunities.

Options under consideration include the Koodaideri project in the Pilbara, brownfield aluminium options in Canada, the Resolution copper project in the US and the Jadar lithium project in Serbia.

These projects will build on recent investments in high-quality growth projects – Silvergrass (iron ore in Western Australia), Amrun (bauxite in Queensland) and Oyu Tolgoi (copper and gold in Mongolia) – that will deliver internal rates of return of more than 20%.

Industry fundamentals remain sound, supported by a healthy global economic outlook.

While Rio Tinto remains optimistic about China in the medium to long term, there could be a slowdown over the next six months, with a weakening in construction, infrastructure and automotive demand growth during that period.

Feature image credit: Rio Tinto

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