Surda Mine

Brief about Surda Project

India Resources (IRL) flagship, the Surda Copper Mine, in the East Singhbhum District of Jharkhand, India, is located in the country’s prime copper producing belt known as the Indian Copper Complex (ICC). The ICC is a zone of major thrusting and later extensional shearing and forms part of the Singhbhum Shear Zone, composed of Proterozoic rocks to the east over Archean rocks of the Singhbhum Craton to the west. Surda is one of several copper deposits which have been mined since ancient times that lie along the Shear Zone. India Resources at present, has a term contract with Hindustan Copper Limited, (HCL) which began in 2007 and is expected to be extended to May 2017, as recommended by a committee of HCL and IRL executives for operating, and maintaining the Surda Copper Mine.

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Surda history:

  • A British company, the Indian Copper Corporation Ltd (ICC), started the Mosabani mines, crushing plant & Moubhandar smelter plant in the year 1928.
  • In 1972 the ICC was taken over by Hindustan Copper Ltd (HCL).
  • The Mosabani concentrator plant was commissioned during 1973 – 1974 with a 2,000 tonnes per day capacity.
  • Mines began to close down in the 1990’s due to falling copper prices, Surda was the last to close in 2003
  • In 2007 IRL Refurbish the Surda copper mine and Mosabani concentrator. Production resumed from the mine and plant in November 2007. Geology:
  • The Surda mine has a strike length of 2.2 kms and is currently at a maximum depth of 450 m. the width of the ore body varies from metres up to 60m in thickness as the copper mineralisation pinches and swells. The ore body is made up of four distinct lodes within a shear zone of quartz biotite schists that dip at 30-350 to the east and sometime coalesce to become laterally expansive.

Access to the Surda mine is via:

  • Shaft #3 - 1 Vertical Shaft and Sub-Incline system
  • Shaft #4 - 1 Incline Shaft

IRL Surda achievements:

  • Introduction of new mining equipment, locos, compressor, rock breaker and new Loaders increasing productivity and lowering costs
  • Refurbishment of the mine, new winder ropes and ladders etc. Introduction of preventative maintenance schedules.
  • New 3D survey of all underground openings.
  • Commissioned in August 2008 the TC-30 ceramic disc filter imported from China to give the desired moisture content in the concentrate.
  • Introduction of Tailings Classification using two 10” hydro-cyclones each of 500 tonnes per day capacity has been very successful and provides good quality material, free of fines for the Surda mine tailings back fill program system.  
  • State of the art capacitors installed for power factor improvement. Variable frequency drives installed for all the slurry pumps. MCC installed for low voltage motors.
  • Grinding improved and label capacity reached of 2200 tonnes per day (TPD).
  • Installation of Metso RCS 10 Flotation cells at the Mosabani concentrator.
  • IRL has made proper arrangement for slimes tailing disposal and installed a new tailings dam of adequate capacity.
  • New 60 tonne capacity computerised weighbridge installed replacing the previous 30 tonne damaged and inaccurate bridge.
  • Electrical capacity installed for Power factor improvement from 65% to 99%.
  • IRL has a workforce of 1,500 to operate Surda and man its other projects. As much as possible recruitment of both skilled and unskilled staff is from the local communities.

Surda production highlights:

  • In 2012 record grade for a single year‘s production of 0.95% copper.
  • In 2012 record grade for a single quarter of 1.04% copper.
  • Record copper in concentrate for a single month in May 2012 of 422 tonnes.
  • All time record production in 2012 year of Metal in concentrate (MIC) of 3,556 tonnes (3,551 tonnes of MIC in 2011).
  • All time record quarter of 1,055 tonnes of MIC for the June quarter 2013 (previous 1,049 tonnes set in the June 2012 quarter).
  • Ore mined record of 428,313 tonnes set in the 2011 year compared to 425,357 tonnes set in the 2013 financial year.
  • Record 119,595 tonnes of ore mined in the March 2013 quarter including a record month in March 2013 of 42,614 tonnes

India Resources Limited has always increased production since it has reopened the Surda Copper Mine. Now, Surda is producing 282 tonnes per month of copper metal in concentrate, on average, since recommencement compared to the previous operator’s 215 tonnes. Also production tonnes have increased from 23,500tonnes of copper ore to 31,400tonnes per month on average since recommencement. At Surda the last six months production have averaged over 40,000  tonnes per month and the last 5 month’s have averaged over 350 tonnes of MIC.

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project surda4General Manager Operations Vinay Singh and General Manager- Mining Malay Daripa with HCL officials at Shaft 3
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General Manager – Operations underground at Surda Copper Mine

Surda Mine Development:
The development has focused on the Level 11 area located north of shaft 3’s sub-inclined shaft. Two new Blocks (stopes) have been opened.

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Back fill:
An integral part of mining copper minerals at Surda is backfilling. Most of the stoping activities use the horizontal cut and fill method. When the cutting takes place it leaves a void that becomes progressing out of reach of mining and needs to be filled with tailings to provide a platform for mining activities to work from and continue the next cut up through the ore body. Also the back fill provides stability and fills the void between hanging wall and foot wall. The maximum open span is 5m, after this mining ceases until filling is complete to within 1-2 m of solid rock. It is very important to backfill quickly and efficiently. The graph below shows increases in backfill this is a reflection of improved backfilling techniques and increased production requiring more backfill.


project surda8Tailings backfill being placed underground at Surda Copper Mine

Safety continues to improve at Surda with the LTIFR reducing again for the 2013 financial year. The company has an exceptional safety record. The Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) of 0.75 is far below, world industry standards for metalliferous underground mining of this type. This is a credit to all who work at Surda but especially the Safety and Training Departments.

project surda9project surda10Safety training in progress

After depletion from mining in the 2012-2013 year, the JORC compatible Resource remaining as at the 30 June 2013 was:

Category Tonnes Grade (Cu%)
Measured 4,383,354 1.07
Indicated 6,959,000 1.12
Inferred 113,000 0.79
TOTAL 11,455,354 1.10

Depletion of resources due to mining took place with no additions made to resources. The mined grade of 0.89% Cu is under the Resource mine grade of 1.07% dilution minimisation programs are ongoing and segregating the ore from waste in the stopes is being improved.

The Surda deposit remains open at depth and along strike to the north. Confidence in the ore Resources at Surda remains strong with the Surda Expansion Project involving shaft sinking to 18 Level, currently the mine is at 12 level at approximately 450m below the surface. The extent of the Surda workings and Expansion Project are shown below. The expansion project is substantial and will double the underground openings of the mine.

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Mosabani Concentrator Operations:
The average recovery and copper metal in concentrate (MIC) produced by the Mosabani Concentrator during the 2013 financial year was 92.94% and 3,283 tonnes respectively. This is slightly less than the previous year of 93.52% and 3,556 tonnes and is due to the adverse affects of the industrial disputes in the December 2013 quarter.
The concentrator plant continues to perform and is operating at 73.65% of its refurbished capacity.
Improvements to the concentrator are being made to take additional ore from the Surda expansion contract these are

  • Ball mill no 4 refurbishment
  • Optimisation with 350 CFT flotation as rougher cells

Concentrate grade achieved over the year was 25.57% of copper is a small increase from last year’s grade of 25.18%.
The metal recovery for the 2013 year was 92.94% which is slightly less than the previous year and reflects the lower copper feed grade to the plant over this period.

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project surda14Grinding (label capacity 2,200 TPD)

project surda15RCS 10 state of the art 350 CFT Metso flotation cells


project surda16Checking the moisture removal system at the concentrator

Human Resources:
At this point in time the Surda Operation employs 1,500 workers on site and is broken up as follows:

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project surda19The IRL HR team

Community Development:
India Resources does its utmost to employ staff locally as much as possible and are very proud of this achievement as the graph pertains:

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India Resources is playing a very significant role, in developing the nearby community by giving financial aid to poor students, repairing old cottages belonging to needy people, maintaining roads and fixing lighting and electrical installations in and around the vicinity of the Company’s premises. These are several of many ways India Resources lends a helping hand to the community.

Training and Development:
A highlight of the 2012-2013 year was the low LTIFR of 0.75 this is a world class achievement in safety. This is a credit to all IRL’s staff and particularly to our training programs and instructors. Training is competency based and systematic in nature and has contributed to the overall increase in safety, productivity and efficiency of the Surda operations.

project surda21Surda Mine training centre

The Surda mine site is located on the edge of a National Forest Reserve and great efforts are made to husband the environment to prevent environmental degradation. Trucks are maintained so as to prevent ore material from falling off on the way to the Mosabani Concentrator. Tailings and concentrate transport vehicle loads are covered to prevent dust and spillage during transport. The tailings from the Mosabani concentrator are used as back fill at the Surda mine and are placed at Shaft 3 area in a bunded stockpile system to prevent run off and minimise dust. At the surface of the Surda mine there are series of ponds built to control sediment run off. Water used for underground during the tailings back filling process is being recycled and is not allowed to be discharged into the environment. Also under India Resource care trees and vegetation are encouraged to grow and are attracting birds and wild monkeys to the area.

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Extracting tailings from the dam at Mosabani


The geological and assay statements and commentary in this report are based on information compiled by Andrew Kohler who is a member of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists. Mr Kohler has reviewed the information and has satisfied himself that the values quoted and the parameters used in the report are reasonable and accurately reflect the operations involved. Mr Kohler is a geological consultant to the Company who formerly held the position of Geology Manager. Mr Kohler has sufficient experience which is relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration to quality as a Competent Person as defined in the 2004 Edition of the “Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves”. Mr Kohler consents to the inclusion in the report of matters based on his information in the form and context in which it appears.