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Copper production growth of three per cent and underlying earning before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $23.9 billion were two of the highlights from Rio Tinto’s 2023 calendar year.

Rio Tinto chief executive officer Jakob Stausholm said the company is continuing its focus on sustainability as well.

“We have taken significant steps over the past month towards our target to halve our global Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions this decade with agreements to contract future renewable wind and solar power for our Gladstone operations,” he said.

“We are making clear progress as we shape Rio Tinto into a stronger and even more reliable company. By focusing on our four objectives, we are building a portfolio that is fit for the future – including our Oyu Tolgoi underground copper mine in Mongolia and the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea.”

Stausholm said the company’s financial results could be described as “resilient”.

“In 2023, we lifted our overall copper equivalent production by over 3 per cent and delivered resilient financial results, with underlying EBITDA of $23.9 billion, free cash flow of $7.7 billion and underlying earnings of $11.8 billion, after taxes and government royalties of $8.8 billion,” he said.

“Our balance sheet strength enables us to continue to invest with discipline while also paying an ordinary dividend of $7.1 billion, a 60 per cent payout.

“We will continue paying attractive dividends and investing in the long-term strength of our business as we grow in the materials needed for a decarbonising world.”

The major miner also announced that its non-executive director Simon McKeon will step down from his role on May 2, 2024.

“I am extremely grateful to Simon for his invaluable contribution,” Rio Tinto chair Dominic Barton said.

“Having regard for his roles as Rio Tinto Limited’s senior independent director and the designated director for workforce engagement, Simon has taken a particular interest in Rio Tinto’s revitalised approach to engagement with the broader Australian community as well as the company’s cultural reset.

“On behalf of the board, I wish him well for the future.”