Rio Tinto announced a 4.62 billion USD annual net profit for 2016 and that shareholders were rewarded with a buy-back totaling 3.6 billion USD in share-holder returns.

As part of the 3.6 billion USD in returns for shareholders, Rio declared a full-year dividend of 1.70 USD per share and a share buy-back of 500 million USD in 2017.

In 2015, Rio experienced an 866 million USD net loss due to plummeting commodity market prices and a decrease in Chinese import demand. Analysts have attributed the surge in the price of iron ore as the catalyst for the profitable year, as the price of iron ore doubled to 80 USD a ton compared to 2015.

“Today’s results show we have kept our commitment to maximize cash and productivity from our world-class assets, delivering 3.6 billion USD in shareholder returns while maintaining a robust balance sheet,” Chief Executive Officer Jean-Sebastien Jacques said.

“We enter 2017 in good shape; our team will deliver 5 billion USD of extra free cash flow over the next five years from our productivity program. Our value over volume approach, coupled with a robust balance sheet and world-class assets, places us in a strong position to deliver superior shareholder returns through the cycle,” Jacques added.

Rio also reported 8.5 billion USD in cash generation, 5.1 billion USD in underlying earnings, and 1.6 billion USD in operating cost reductions.

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