USGS Response to Bipartisan Congressional Requests to Immediately Add Copper to the Critical Minerals List Ignores Established Methodology

May 22, 2023


McLean, VA— The Copper Development Association (CDA) today released letters sent by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to congressmen and senators, denying a bipartisan request to immediately add copper to the official Critical Minerals list due to its dramatic supply risk. 

“Despite clear data showing that copper’s supply risk score is now above the threshold for automatic inclusion on the 2022 Critical Minerals list, USGS sent well-crafted letters to a bipartisan group of congressmen and senators filled with misleading arguments that were not part of its own official 2022 methodology, or consistent with the spirit or letter of the law, to justify a decision to forego immediately adding copper to the list”, said Andrew G. Kireta, Jr., CDA’s president and CEO. “This decision was made even though Secretary Haaland has the authority given to her by statute to add copper to the list, without waiting for the next update in three years.”

Unlike in Europe, where copper was recently added to its proposed Critical Raw Material and Strategic Raw Material lists based on forecasting future supply and demand projections, USGS addresses supply risk with a rearward looking analysis that does not address current and forward-looking policy demands that can leave domestic supply chains short of critical materials. USGS’s last official evaluation for the 2022 Critical Minerals List is based on copper trade data that represents supply risk from 2014 to 2018, five to nine years out-of-date, and too old to be meaningful. Notably, USGS did not refute the CDA study showing copper’s updated supply risk score is now above the 2022 threshold of 0.40.

“Continued supply trends and solid data confirm that the supply risk for copper is not a short-term issue that will self-correct without determined, immediate, and strategic action,” said Kireta. “We must ensure that America’s manufacturers and supply chains have ready, reliable, economic access to copper to meet the growing demand and policy goals for a cleaner electrical grid, a lower carbon economy, and a strong and resilient defense sector. CDA calls upon Members of congress to not accept USGS’ decision lightly and to undertake all means and measures to address this ill-conceived and unfounded decision.” 

For a point-by-point rebuttal by CDA to the misleading arguments presented by USGS, visit



About CDA

Copper Development Association Inc. (CDA) is a U.S.-based, not-for-profit association of the global copper industry, bringing together the North American copper and copper alloy semis fabricators and global copper mining and production industries. CDA is committed to promoting the proper use of copper materials in sustainable, efficient applications for business, industry and the home.