SYDNEY, AAP – Rio Tinto has declared a 58 per cent jump in its tax and royalty payments in 2021, underlining the gains reaped by global miners from a spike in iron ore prices.

Rio Tinto, the world’s second-largest iron ore producer, last year paid $US13.3 billion ($A17.5 billion) in taxes and royalties across the countries it operates in, compared with $US8.4 billion in 2020.

The gains came despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, which resulted in labour shortages due to pandemic restrictions and limited the ramp-up of the company’s Pilbara operations in Western Australia.

“We acknowledge the support of our host governments and communities in helping us keep our sites operating at a time when many other industries were heavily constrained,” chief financial officer Peter Cunningham says in the company’s annual taxes paid report.

The bulk of the 2021 bill was paid in Australia, with Rio contributing $US11.1 billion by way of taxes and royalties to state and federal government coffers here.


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It had paid $US6.8 billion to Australian governments in 2020.

Other significant payments included $US855 million in Canada, $US544 million in Mongolia, and $US562 million in Chile, each of which host key mining operations of the group.

Rio’s effective income tax rate was 28 per cent globally and 30.1 per cent in Australia.

The price of iron ore – Rio’s main revenue earner – surged in 2021 thanks to higher demand from China and disrupted global supplies from Brazil.

Rio reported an average realised price of $US143.8 a tonne for the year, a 45 per cent improvement from 2020.

The jump in prices helped Rio post record earnings of $US21.38 billion in 2021, up 72 per cent from the previous year.