The miner said it would pay out US$9.1bn to shareholders through a combination of an ordinary dividend of US$6.1bn (376c)and a special dividend of US$3bn (185c).
A surge in the prices of iron ore, copper and aluminium meant the FTSE 100 miner generated US$13.7bn of net cash in the six months to end June 2021.
Net earnings jumped to US$12.3bn, a rise of 272% over a year ago.
Jakob Stausholm, chief executive, said: "Government stimulus in response to ongoing COVID-19 pressures has driven strong demand for our products at a time of constrained supply resulting in a significant spike in most prices.
“This enabled us, despite operational challenges, to deliver record financial results with free cash flow of US$10.2bn and underlying earnings of US$12.2bn, after taxes and government royalties of US$7.3bn.”
He also confirmed a major move into the lithium space with a US$2.4bn investment in the Jadar project in Serbia with first production scheduled for 2026 and 58,000 tonnes a year of battery-grade lithium carbonate forecast by 2029.
Stausholm, who took over in the wake of the boardroom clearout following Rio’s dynamiting of the heritage site at Juukan Gorge in Australia, said the miner was making "real and lasting changes to the way we engage, interact and operate and are committed to ensuring that we have strong and positive relationships wherever we do business"