(Bloomberg) -- Rio Tinto Group’s underlying profit fell 12% last year on weaker commodities prices and rising costs, but the company still managed to pay a higher dividend.

The world’s biggest iron ore miner posted an underlying profit of $11.8 billion, largely in line with analyst estimates. It will pay a final dividend of $2.58 per share compared with $2.25 in the year before, the company said in a statement.

A disappointing post-pandemic recovery in China, the biggest metals-consuming nation, has put downward pressure on demand for industrial commodities. While prices of iron ore remained relatively resilient during the reporting period, the steelmaking material slumped to a three-month low this week amid increased concern over steel demand in Asia’s largest economy.

“We will continue paying attractive dividends and investing in the long-term strength of our business as we grow in the materials needed for decarbonizing the world,” Chief Executive Officer Jakob Stausholm said in the statement. 

Rio said it had net impairment charges for the period of $700 million, mainly related to its Australian alumina refineries.

“This was triggered by the challenging market conditions facing these assets, together with our improved understanding of the capital requirements for decarbonization, and the recently legislated cost escalation for carbon emissions,” it said. 

Rio’s shares closed down 1.8% at A$125.80 in Sydney before the earnings announcement.

(Updates to add share price in final paragraph. An earlier version of the story was corrected to say earnings in line with average analyst estimate in second paragraph.)

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.