Copper Meets Inclusion Criteria for U.S. Geological Survey’s Critical Minerals List

February 2, 2023


McLean, VA— The Copper Development Association (CDA) today released a new report replicating the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) methodology used to determine mineral criticality. The analysis shows that copper now meets the USGS benchmark Supply Risk score of 0.40 for automatic inclusion on the U.S. Critical Minerals List.

Originally created in 2018, the U.S. Critical Minerals List contains minerals deemed essential to U.S. economic or national security and that have a supply chain vulnerable to disruption. The dynamic list is intended by statute to be updated every three years at a minimum, however the Secretary of Interior can update it at any time. When compiling the 2022 list, USGS utilized a new qualitative methodology to look closer at a supply risk score by calculating the economic vulnerability, disruption potential, and trade exposure of various minerals. Unfortunately, USGS stopped calculating with 2018 data when compiling the 2022 list, resulting in copper missing the required 0.40 supply risk score threshold for automatic inclusion.

“Because USGS data was considerably out of date upon the release of the 2022 Critical Minerals List, and the risks to copper from imports has increased dramatically, we engaged an analyst to update copper’s supply risk score with the most recently available data to 2022,” said Andrew G. Kireta, Jr., CDA’s president and CEO.

New USGS data shows the share of copper consumption that is met by net imports has increased from 33% in 2018 to 44% in 2021 and 41% in 2022.  In the first half of 2022, the net import reliance stood at 48%.

In the CDA report, copper’s Supply Risk score in 2022 is up to 0.423 and the 4-year weighted average score is now up to 0.407 – both above the USGS 0.40 threshold for automatic inclusion on the list.


“Copper is and always has been critical to our economic and national security but now to the clean energy transition as well. As copper now meets the threshold for inclusion based on the very latest available data, we need to act immediately to enable the copper industry to provide the essential inputs that copper provides to our national defense and economic security,” Kireta said.

With this data, a broad cross-section of political, policy, and industry leaders have all signed letters to Secretary Haaland urging her to exercise the authority given by statute to officially add copper to the list, without waiting for the next update in three years. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) spearheaded a bipartisan letter from senators representing some of the largest copper producing and fabricating states.

“Designating copper as a critical mineral strengthens vulnerabilities against foreign adversaries like Russia and China, bolsters our economic and energy security, and fuels Arizona jobs which will keep America strong and ready,” said Sinema.

In addition, the co-chairs of the U.S. House Copper Caucus, several governors, and a large coalition of trade associations, unions and industry leaders have signed letters to the Secretary urging the inclusion of copper.  Copper Caucus Co-Chairs Bob Latta (R-OH-05) and Brian Higgins (D-NY-26) added “As Members of Congress whose districts include manufacturing facilities that are copper-intensive and essential to the future of our economy’s transition, such a designation would help secure the economic future of these facilities and these communities.”

The addition of copper to the Critical Minerals list will allow for streamlined regulations and faster development of new supply sources to meet future demand. To learn more about why copper is a Critical Mineral, and view all of the support letters, 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.