I must admit to a certain amount of envy when I look at foreign companies that report their results in half-year increments, rather than quarterly.

But I won't be able to alter our systems, and so I'll tell you about the results for mining giant Rio Tinto (NYSE: RTP), which on Thursday reported its results for the first half of 2010. For the period, the company recorded underlying earnings (excluding impairment charges, gains from asset sales, etc.) of $5.8 billion, up 125% from the $2.6 billion for the first half of last year. The results topped analysts' consensus expectations of $5.5 billion. Revenues were up by one-third to $25.2 billion.

In iron ore, Rio joins Brazil's Vale (NYSE: VALE) and Australia's BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP) to control the bulk of the world's supply of this key ingredient in steel manufacturing. Pricing for iron ore is moving from an annual benchmark to a quarterly approach.

The company also benefited from a 78% increase in copper and molybdenum prices -- a phenomenon that aided Freeport-McMoRan (NYSER: FCX) recently. At the same time, aluminum prices improved by 50%, while gold levies were up 26%.

For the past few years, Rio Tinto has admittedly been carrying excessive debt, primarily because of its earlier acquisition of Canada's Alcan. However, during the first half of this year, it reduced its net debt to $12 billion, from $18.9 billion at Dec. 31, 2009 (and $39 billion a year ago). The company's plan was to reach $10.3 billion in divestitures, which it has accomplished. This year, it has sold more than $3.6 billion of its non-core assets. Beyond that, it has received a binding offer -- with undisclosed terms -- for 61% of Alcan Engineered Products.

But it hasn't abandoned growth. It continues to move forward on its planned iron ore joint venture with BHP Billiton and has reached an agreement with Aluminum Corp. of China (NYSE: ACH) -- or Chalco -- for the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea. As Rio Tinto Chairman Jan du Plessis noted, "Developing our relationship with China is a key priority for Rio Tinto, and I was very pleased to sign the agreement with Chalco last week for the Simandou joint venture."

So, Rio Tinto is making big progress on many fronts. Looking over its accomplishments, I can't help but believe that the resource-rich company would contribute nicely to most portfolios.

Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned above. He does welcome your questions or comments. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.