BHP Billiton has recorded its highest profit in its history after posting a first-half net profit of $10.6 billion, representing a 71 per cent jump in profits.


The company’s profits were $300 million ahead of the most optimistic projections, with earnings from iron ore nearly tripling while earnings from base metals such as copper, increased 45 per cent.


The company announced its plans to return nearly $10 billion to shareholders, sparking rumors of a generous buyback similar to that of Rio Tinto who announced a $5 billion buyback plan to shareholders.


BHP has announced that despite engaging in a number of high-end acquisitions, such as that of US petroleum giant Petrohawk, it remains almost debt-free but will most likely avoid large acquisitions in the nearby future. The company has also announced it will continue its plans to spend $80 billion on expansion plans over the next five years.


However, the company’s record profits have reignited debate over the Federal Government’s planned mining and minerals rent tax. The posting of the profits come as Treasury revealed the Federal Government surrendered $60 billion in forecast revenue from re-working the mining tax.