We reached important milestones in the financial year 2019 as our underground mines touched a production run-rate of a million tonnes per annum overcoming the planned closure of open-cast mining operation.
I am delighted to join your Company's Board as Chairman and take forward Hindustan Zinc's vision to become the largest and most admired zinc-lead & silver producer. On behalf of the Board
I thank Mr. Agnivesh Agarwal for his outstanding leadership over last 13 years where he oversaw the stupendous growth and seamless and successful transition from a predominantly open cast mining to a fully underground mining company. His guidance will be truly missed by the Board and the management team.
As one of the largest producers of zinc lead and silver in the world Hindustan Zinc is well positioned to reduce India's dependence on imports and take on the mantle of creating a sustainable metal value chain. We are continuously looking for opportunities to do things better and smarter to achieve excellence in enhancing safety & environment developing cutting edge operational expertise increasing productivity & profitability and most importantly improving lives of people.
We reached important milestones in the financial year 2019 as our underground mines touched a production run-rate of a million tonnes per annum overcoming the planned closure of open-cast mining operation. This milestone has been achieved by creating three world-class underground mines and by putting two legacy mines on a path of modernisation to augment capacity. From an underground ore production of about 2.5 million MT at the time of starting our expansion plan in FY 2013 we have produced 13.8 million MT of ore in FY 2019. During the same time we have ramped up our mined metal production from underground mines at a fairly consistent annual growth rate of 33%. This I believe is world-class performance by any yardstick.
We have delivered strong financial performance with EBITDA of ? 10747 Crore and have returned cash to shareholders through dividends of ? 10188 Crore or ? 20 per share implying a dividend yield of 7% based on average share price during the year. During the year we contributed ? 11563 Crore to the Government treasury through royalties taxes and dividends.
Value maximisation remains at the core of our business strategy. Our operations are globally recognised for their competitiveness in terms of cost of production and scale. We are maintaining our mine lifespan of 25+ years even at higher level of production and yielded shareholder return of 13206% (33% CAGR) since the divestment of the Company in 2002. This has been achieved by maximising value at each of our units through economies of scale along with optimisation of resources and processes. Our strategy remains focused around increasing use of technology and partnerships with global experts to increase productivity and cost efficiency as well as sustainability of operations.
People are our greatest asset and engaging & empowering them is our continuous quest. We have already created structures to delegate decision making and ownership all the way down within the organisation. The next challenge was to re-tool employees for efficient decision making and motivate them to achieve the objectives of higher productivity and efficiency. In this context we have begun the process of company-wide digitilisation. Digitalisation is now ubiquitous in all our human resource practices and there is a greater scope for digitalisation to be used for efficient decision making from real-time information deeper understanding of data and greater transparency. I am pleased to say that we are on our way towards achieving it.
Safety health and environment is our top most priority.
Despite safety being our core value and focus of ongoing efforts our safety performance has unfortunately deteriorated during the year with seven fatalities. We are deeply anguished by these accidents and our prayers & thoughts are with affected families. We are determined to eliminate such accidents and have intensified our work amongst employees and contractors alike to reinforce the goal of zero harm through a culture of working safely and engaged global specialists to address specific areas that needed immediate attention. While we have improved our lost-time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) from 0.85 in FY 2014 to 0.27 in FY 2018 LTIFR during the current year spurted to 0.64. We are committed to re-double our efforts in our quest towards zero harm and zero fatality.
I am pleased to inform of various accolades in the environment space. Hindustan Zinc was ranked 5th in overall sustainability (11th in 2017) and 1st in environment category (3rd in 2017) by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) 2018 in the Metal & Mining sector on a worldwide basis. DJSI is the global sustainability benchmark and our ranking reflects our sustained efforts in this area. Our performance is underpinned by technological developments towards increasing usage of waste water continuous reduction in carbon & land footprint and minimisation of waste generation. We have established yearly targets for energy and water efficiency as well as stay committed to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions in a systematic manner over the next several years.
Social development is non-negotiable for us. We are of the firm belief that our license to operate comes not only from the Government but also from our communities. To this end we are working in 189 villages across our operations and focusing on areas that are of national importance such as education women's empowerment health & water agriculture sports and community development with an emphasis on inclusion of the marginalised and on grassroots development. It is important for us that our programs are interconnected so as to impact every aspect in the lives of beneficiaries. During the year we put in place MEAL (monitoring evaluation accountability and learning) systems to improve transparency in CSR projects - a step forward to strengthen governance. Our total investment in CSR activities has increased by 42% to ? 130 Crore for the year benefitting 500000 beneficiaries.
I firmly believe that mining industry has an important role to play considering the requirement of metals for infrastructure and societal development. We are working with the Government to establish a policy framework that is conducive to increase private sector participation in the country's growth. We are a responsible mining company and our commitment to operating a sustainable business will continue to make a positive difference in the lives of employees business partners and communities in Rajasthan and India.
I am honoured to be given the opportunity of being Chairman of this esteemed organisation and look forward to contributing in its next phase of growth.