Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albenese said the company is now in a position to pursue upcoming major growth projects after coping with financial difficulties.

Rio’s favourable financial position was achieved through a $15bn rights issue and sales of its Alcan assets for eliminating debt, Albanese said.

“We have emerged from the past year a leaner, more flexible business with our options for growth intact,” Albanese said at the company’s annual investor seminar in London.

“We are now well-positioned for disciplined growth and will balance this with the need to further pay down debt.”

Albanese said Rio’s capital expenditure for the next year will be a minimum of $5bn, which may increase to $6bn, according to Mining Daily.

Out of that increased capital expenditure up to $3.5bn will be allocated for growth projects.

“We will continue our programme of cost reduction and debt repayments but our renewed strength enables us to focus on disciplined capital expenditure on premier growth options,” Albenese said.

“This will position us well for the expected recovery in demand growth over the longer term.”