The firm, which listed on the London Stock Exchange this year, made $2.7bn in the first half of 2011.

Earnings at its industrial division - which invests in metals, energy and agricultural production - rose 54% thanks to "robust" demand for the natural resources it trades.

Meanwhile, its marketing division saw profits from energy trading double.

Production at its Sherwin Alumina, USA site was 751kt, up 13% from H1 2010 and it plans to increase capacity to 1.6Mt.

"During the first half of 2011, underlying demand conditions for commodities remained generally robust, despite a number of major disruptive events," said chief executive Ivan Glasenberg.

*More of the story in AIT September/October