It was 105 years ago that Teck was first formed to develop a gold deposit on the shores of Kirkland Lake, Ontario. Since that time, we’ve grown to become Canada’s largest diversified resource company, with nearly 10,000 employees in operations worldwide providing products that are essential to improving people’s quality of life: steelmaking coal, copper, zinc and energy.
Now, more than ever, major shifts like massive urbanization, a rapidly growing middle class and the transition to a low-carbon economy are driving increasing demand for the metals and minerals we produce. For example, the average electric vehicle requires four times the copper of a standard vehicle. Meeting that demand in a responsible and sustainable way is essential to the continued growth and success of our business.
In 2017, we achieved record revenues of $12.0 billion and record cash flow from operations of $5.1 billion, thanks to continued strong prices for our products and solid operating results. This performance was despite some challenges during the year as outlined in my letter in the 2017 Annual Report. During the 12 months ended December 31, 2017, we exceeded the record we set in 2011, when commodity prices for steelmaking coal and copper were significantly higher, and it serves to reinforce the results of our ongoing focus on productivity and cost control at our core assets.
In January this year, we reached a significant milestone for our energy business unit, achieving first oil at our Fort Hills oil sands mining and process operation, a partnership with Suncor Energy and Total E&P. Fort Hills is a long-life asset that will generate significant value for our company for decades to come. It’s important to note that life cycle carbon intensity for the Fort Hills product is projected to be lower than approximately half of the oil currently refined in North America.
Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our people and I am proud to report that in 2017 we had our best-ever safety performance. Total Recordable Injury Frequency was down by 12% compared to the previous year, Lost-Time Disabling Injury Frequency and High-Potential Incident Frequency both declined by 14%, and we had no fatalities. Despite our progress, there was a fatal accident at our Fording River Operations in southeastern British Columbia in April 2018. This tragic occurrence reminds us that we cannot let our focus on safety waiver as we work towards our vision of everyone going home safe and healthy every day. We are learning all that we can from this occurrence, and we are increasing our focus on identifying and addressing the root causes of serious incidents.
At Teck, we make sustainability a part of everything we do, because we know that responsible mining and mineral development are fundamental to our current and future success. In fact, strong sustainability performance is a competitive advantage. It helps to build community support and acceptance for our operations and projects, reduce costs and create more efficient operations.
In 2017, we were able to advance our work in sustainability and strengthen our safety performance, all while achieving record revenues and cash flow. For example, we reduced energy use by 582 terajoules and greenhouse gas emissions by 281 kilotonnes, improved the diversity of our workforce with women comprising 29% of new hires, we continued to implement water quality improvement measures at our operations in the Elk Valley and we reused water at our operations an average of four times.
Through our membership and work with external organizations, we contribute to improving responsible resource development practices, which will help solve global sustainability challenges. This includes working with the United Nations Global Compact, the International Council on Mining and Metals Sustainable Development Framework, and the Mining Association of Canada's Towards Sustainable Mining initiative, among others. Through these collaborations, we have also expanded on our work to contribute and advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. See case studies throughout this report for examples of how our activities support achieving these goals.
Despite our strong performance in 2017, we know there is more work to be done to advance our sustainability strategy in a changing world. This is reflected in the theme of our 2017 Sustainability Report, Horizons. As we look to the future, we are focused on continually improving our performance and building on our contributions to making a better world.
Donald R. Lindsay
President and Chief Executive Officer
Vancouver, B.C., Canada
April 26, 2018