Rio announced tender offers for up to $1.5bn (£1.16bn) of its 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 US dollar-denominated notes. It also issued a redemption notice for about $1.5bn of its 2017 and 2018 notes.
The company’s shares closed down 0.83 per cent to 209.75p.
Hunter Hillcoat, an analyst at Investec, said that the company’s bond buyback could be a step towards a ratings upgrade.
“Reducing gross debt levels removes a criticism it faced from the ratings agencies,” he said.
Rio’s credit rating was cut by Moody’s earlier this year in line with a string of downgrades for its rivals. The industry been forced to bolster its balance sheets as the commodities price rout has eaten into its profits.
Glencore returned to the euro bond market earlier this month for the first time since last year’s share price crash, with a nearly six-times oversubscribed €1bn (£0.87bn) bond issue.